Bill seeks to reduce pollution from last mile warehouses

Assembly Member Marcela Mitaynes (Marcela for NY, iStock)

As the spread of last-mile warehouses accelerates in New York, a lawmaker aims to reduce the pollution that follows.

Congresswoman Marcela Mitaynes introduced a bill this week to reduce pollution from truck exhaust associated with these warehouses, The City reported. The bill would require the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to pass a rule that labels e-commerce facilities as “indirect sources” of air pollution.

New York would be the first to adopt this type of rule at the state level, which would require warehouse operators to develop plans to reduce air pollution. It would also create a points system, where facilities can earn credits for more environmentally friendly actions, such as using electric vehicles or bicycles.

The legislation would also affect the warehouse pipeline. New developments or significant alterations would face a permitting process that includes an environmental review, allowing the public to intervene. Warehouses would also not be allowed to worsen levels of several harmful pollutants.

Mitaynes represents Assembly District 51, the site of several recent industrial transactions encompassing major lots and warehouses in Red Hook and Sunset Park. Local activists have pushed back on the installations, citing an unregulated environmental impact that disproportionately affects communities of color.

A similar rule has already been adopted in Southern California. The agency that oversees pollution in the region predicted it would lead to up to 300 fewer deaths, 5,800 fewer asthma attacks and public health benefits ranging from $1.2 billion to $2.7 billion. .

In response to the legislation, Amazon told The City that the company is “committed to finding innovative solutions to reduce emissions.”

Last-mile installations are becoming ubiquitous across the country as e-commerce continues to increase. During the third quarter of 2021, the majority of industrial leases in the United States involved parties seeking less than 100,000 square feet, according to JLL, indicating the typical size of a last-mile facility.

Last year, residents of Red Hook sounded the alarm about traffic problems and overbuilding in the area as developers took advantage of zoning that allows delivery centers to be built without special permits or environmental studies. environmental impact.

The local push came amid plans to build several last-mile facilities in the area, including the 1.2 million square foot UPS facility on a 12-acre waterfront site. The Gindi, Chetrit and Nakash families have also formed a joint venture with Bridge Investment Group to develop a warehouse on a $45 million site on the outskirts of the neighborhood.

[The City] —Holden Walter-Warner