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Cincinnati Passes Environmental Justice Ordinance

By Kristin Watt

On June 24, 2009 the City of Cincinnati passed an Environmental Justice Ordinance ("EJ Ordinance").  Believed to be the first of its kind for a City, the EJ Ordinance requires certain “proposed projects” to undergo an environmental review by a City examiner and receive an EJ Permit before the project can operate in the City.  An EJ Permit will be denied if the project would cause a public nuisance, which is defined as significantly interfering with public health by: 1) causing an excess cancer risk; 2) causing an excess risk of acute health effects; 3) causing an excess risk in the event of an accident; or 4) constituting an Air Pollution Nuisance as defined in Ohio Administrative Code 3745-15-07. The EJ Ordinance is set to take effect in six months. In the mean time, the City will need to allocate funding in the 2010 budget required to hire an EJ examiner, pay for required public notices, and cover costs for environmental consulting support.

A copy of the EJ Ordinance as it passed is attached.

A June 30, 2009 letter to Cincinnati Beacon by Vice Mayor David Crowley, who spearheaded the legislative effort, may be found here.

Tags: Environmental, Justice, Environment

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