New York, NY
Today, the ElectrifyNY coalition, lawmakers, and environmental justice advocates join advocacy forces in support of the Clean Deliveries Act (S.2127A /A.1718A) introduced by New York Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (NY-District 12) and Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes (NY-District 51). The bill establishes an indirect source review (ISR) program for certain warehouse operations and requires the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct a study regarding zero emissions zones.
Unlike traditional warehouses, these e-commerce warehouses are larger, some are over 1 million square feet, which equals the size of 15 football fields. These mega warehouses operate 24/7, and some span multiple stories — concentrating emissions and other impacts onto generally overburdened communities where logistics facilities tend to be sited, and onto the workers who support this industry. They require hundreds, sometimes thousands, of vehicle trips per day, including a large number of large heavy-duty and diesel trucks. These trucks emit pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, which contribute to poor air quality and negative health effects in surrounding communities. The presence of these combustion vehicles worsens local air quality, increasing the risk of asthma, heart attacks, and premature deaths. Combustion and diesel delivery vehicles are also a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2), which heats the planet and exacerbates climate change.
E-commerce mega-warehouses generate significant emissions from the large number of delivery trucks that come in and out of each facility, a problem that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic and the increase in online purchasing from e-commerce sites.
The Clean Deliveries Act addresses the impacts of e-commerce mega-warehouses by establishing an indirect source rule for transportation. Key provisions of the bill include:
- A review of emissions from all e-commerce warehouses exceeding 50,000 sq. ft.
- An air emissions reduction and mitigation plan requiring warehouse operators to minimize pollution by implementing one or more of the following:
- Acquiring zero-emission vehicles & charging infrastructure
- Installing solar panels and/or batteries on-site
- Considering alternative transportation modes for incoming or outgoing trips where appropriate
- Paying additional fees
- Enhanced protections for warehouses operating in disadvantaged communities or that impact schools and similar facilities
- A permit requirement for new warehouse developments or those proposing significant modifications
- Ongoing reporting requirements related to truck traffic and emissions mitigation measures
- A zero-emission zones study on the feasibility, benefits, and costs of implementing low and zero emissions designated areas for air pollution and congestion hotspots within New York State
New York State has been a clean energy leader, passing the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in 2019, adopting the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Rule in 2021, and enacting the Advance Clean Cars II (ACCII) Rule in 2022 to reduce emissions economy-wide and advance a just transition towards a zero emission transportation sector. Passing the Clean Deliveries Act is a critical next step towards achieving New York State’s climate mandates, and ensuring that New Yorkers that are burdened with emissions from fossil fuels are prioritized for zero emission investments.
“We have fought hard to improve our air quality by enacting the nation-leading CLCPA, fighting fossil fuel power plants, and pushing for more electrification, but we cannot allow those to be stymied by the proliferation of e-commerce warehouses. We need action now, and that’s why I’m introducing the Clean Deliveries Act to ensure we live up to our environmental commitments,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.
“Sunset Park and Red Hook, like many working-class communities of color across the State of New York, have been the sites of increasingly large last-mile warehouse facilities that send trucks out throughout our neighborhoods every day. Our communities experience real worsening effects from these facilities in the form of pollution, posing health risks, safety, as a result of traffic violence, and natural disasters, as we face a future of climate catastrophe. And yet, these effects are not recognized because either the trucking emissions are not sufficiently monitored or because regulations to oversee these facilities have not been effectively implemented,” said Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes. “The rapid proliferation of vehicle-intensive e-commerce, in addition to New York State’s ongoing noncompliance with federal air quality standards, suggests that regulation for warehouses and other indirect sources is necessary to improve air quality and protect public health, particularly in Environmental Justice communities. The passage of the Clean Deliveries Act is a priority for our residents.”
“The unchecked growth of large warehouses in neighborhoods across NYC has worsened air quality, noise pollution, and traffic safety for everyday New Yorkers. The Clean Deliveries Act is a crucial step towards holding warehouse operators accountable for their emissions and ensuring the well-being of our communities. We must prioritize the health and safety of our residents by passing this important legislation in 2024,” said Senator Kristen Gonzalez.
“I’m grateful to have steadfast allies in the Electrify NY Coalition in our fight to rein in last mile facility pollution,” says Council Member Alexa Avilés. “The Clean Deliveries Act delivers transparency for Red Hook and Sunset Park, frontline neighborhoods in this campaign for equity. Our people deserve to know the extent of the effects of these facilities on their health and quality of life and I appreciate Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Mitaynes’s efforts to shed light on our realities.”
“We work on these delivery trucks and our kids live in these neighborhoods — workers and our families will benefit as much as anyone when we reduce the impacts of the e-commerce industry. Amazon has expanded exponentially in our state in recent years and that is increasing pollution in environmental justice neighborhoods while also driving down wages that working families depend on. Teamsters Local 804 is proud to stand with our environmental and community allies to clean up this industry,” said Antonio Rosario, Teamsters Local 804 organizer.
“For far too long, our working-class communities of color have felt the harshest impacts — on their environment and their health — from the mega-warehouses in their neighborhoods,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “That’s why I introduced my bill to add a tax to online deliveries from last-mile trucking facilities like these, and why I’m proud to support The Clean Deliveries Act here today.”
“As we enter the heart of the holiday shopping season, it’s imperative to recognize the impact of our growing e-commerce footprint,” said Renae Reynolds, Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “The Clean Deliveries Act represents a crucial step towards sustainable urban growth and environmental justice. By regulating emissions from mega-warehouses and promoting zero-emission vehicles, we’re not just advocating for cleaner air; we’re fighting for the health and safety of our communities, especially those disproportionately affected by pollution.”
“The rapid growth of e-commerce in recent decades, especially during the pandemic, has caused a substantial increase in e-commerce mega warehouses and the volume and frequency of diesel-burning trucks across New York to meet the needs of next-day and same-day shipping,” said Kevin Garcia, Transportation Planner with the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “Many of these fulfillment centers and parcel hubs tend to be sited and concentrated near low-income communities of color, contributing to harmful air pollution. This bill is necessary to help reduce air pollution and traffic congestion caused by these warehouses.”
“Passing the Clean Deliveries Act is a critical step towards achieving New York’s climate mandates and ensuring that New Yorkers that are overburdened with pollution from fossil fuels are prioritized for zero-emission investments,” said Anshul Gupta, New Yorkers for Clean Power’s Policy & Research Director. “It’s a common sense bill that advances the climate and environmental justice goals of the CLCPA while requiring large e-commerce warehouse operators to be responsible neighbors in the communities where they operate.”
“Regulating indirect source pollution is not only an imperative for the health of our planet but also a matter of environmental justice. Far too often, working-class communities of color bear the brunt of the environmental impact of industrial activities, including the emissions from delivery trucks and associated last mile warehouse operations. The Clean Deliveries Act recognizes this disparity and takes concrete steps to protect our communities,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE. “The significance of this legislation lies in its holistic approach to sustainability, aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of last-mile deliveries, safeguarding the well-being of those most affected by environmental injustice, and ensuring our working waterfronts maintain industry jobs. By implementing an ISR program, NYC can proactively address the sources of pollution emanating from our supply chain, making strides towards cleaner air and a healthier living environment for all.”
“As the holiday shopping season begins, we must consider how e-commerce continues to contribute to statewide transportation emissions and poor air quality in our most vulnerable communities,” says Sophie Patka, Climate and Legislative Associate with Environmental Advocates of New York. “Passing the Clean Deliveries Act is a crucial step towards protecting the health and safety of our communities and the implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”
“The rapid expansion of e-commerce warehouses in Red Hook over the past three years threatens public health and safety. These warehouses demand hundreds of trucks daily that spew toxic fumes in our neighborhood,” said Tevina Willis, Community Organizing Manager for Red Hook Initiative. “Red Hook has high rates of asthma and layers of environmental burdens, and this bill will help ensure that we can reduce one source of air pollution and regulate these facilities.”
ElectrifyNY is a statewide coalition of advocates for environmental justice, public transportation, social justice, and good jobs fighting for a clean, equitable electric transportation future for New York. ElectrifyNY’s work aims to improve the environment and public health outcomes for the communities most affected by the negative impacts of the transportation sector’s dependency on fossil fuels.