Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce environmental justice impacts from biomass energy development.
The following mitigation measures may be applicable to avoid or reduce environmental justice impacts depending upon site- and project-specific conditions.
Mitigate any impact that has been determined to adversely affect and cause a disproportionate effect on minority or low-income populations through appropriate measures, specific to the impact. For example, if water quality impacts are causing a disproportionate adverse effect on minority or low-income populations, mitigate the water quality impacts to address the environmental justice issue.
Most reservations are home to both low-income and minority populations, and biomass energy development on tribal lands will bring both positive and negative impacts to these communities. Job training programs aimed at developing the skills of the local population to enable them to be employed at these facilities could be an important mitigation measure to minimize adverse environmental justice impacts.
Develop and implement focused public information campaigns to provide technical and environmental health information directly to low-income and minority groups or to local agencies and representative groups. These campaigns would include descriptions of existing air and groundwater monitoring programs; the nature, extent, and likelihood of existing and future airborne or groundwater releases, and the likely characteristics of environmental and health impacts. Key information would include the extent of any likely impact on air quality, drinking water supplies, subsistence resources, public services, and the relevant preventative measures that may be taken.
The likelihood of rapid population growth following the in-migration of the workers in communities with low-income and minority populations could lead to overstressing local community social structures. Beliefs and value systems among the local population and inmigrants will likely contrast and, consequently, could lead to a range of changes in social and community life, including increases in crime, alcoholism, and drug use. In anticipation of these impacts, provide information on the scale and time line of expected biomass energy projects and on the experience of other communities that have followed the same energy development path to local governments and directly to low-income and minority populations. Also, provide information on planning activities that may be initiated to provide local infrastructure, public services, education, and housing.