Op-Ed: Rising Above the Flood: “Empowering New Yorkers with Resilient Homes” by Niki Cross, NYLPI, William Scarborough, Southeast Queens Residents Environmental Justice Coalition, and Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson

June 4, 2024

CLCPA, Climate and Energy Justice, Community Justice, Disability Justice, Environmental Justice, Health Justice, News

A protest sign that reads "Climate Justice Now!"


NYLPI Environmental Justice Program Staff Attorney Niki Cross, Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson and William Scarborough, President of the Southeast Queens Residents Environmental Justice Coalition, penned an op-ed about the urgent need for legislation that would authorize the state to force polluters to pay for the climate crises they have caused and help homeowners cover the costs of critical flood prevention measures in New York State.

“Communities in which New York City has historically invested less money and resources—which tend to be Black, Brown, and low-income communities—disproportionately bear the burdens of flooding and sewage backups. For example, residents in Queens, the city’s most racially diverse borough, made over 4,000 backup complaints involving private sewer systems to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2022 alone—nearly six times as many as Manhattan. 

In addition to the risk of property damage, floods pose major health risks caused by excess water picking up pollutants such as oil, pesticides, bacteria, and trash. Plumbing and sewer backups, which increase with greater rainfall, can cause serious health problems, including respiratory illnesses and skin infections, and are major sources of stress and even trauma for many New Yorkers. These backups make residents’ environments unsafe, unhealthy, and inhumane, interfering with their constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment, yet many homeowners cannot meet the compounding costs of short or long-term solutions to problems with their sewer systems.”

Subscribers can read the full article at New York Daily News.

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