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Abstract

In the last five years, local thinking about environmental protection started to take shape. It is indisputable that cities are not neutral or homogenous geographies in terms of distributing benefits and burdens by class and race. This fact is applicable to local environmental politics. Environmental justice and fair share advocates – and in some instances the courts – are finding that cities like New York are extremely heterogeneous in terms of environmental conditions and the impact of implementing environmental laws. This Essay describes the Environmental Benefits Program, which the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has undertaken in order to address some of the inequities caused by local sources of pollution in New York City. This program may serve as a model for other communities in the effort to address environmental inequities.

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