Offshore Wind and Environmental Justice
What is Environmental Justice?
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies (U.S. EPA). Environmental justice intersects with other forms of justice, including racial justice and economic justice. Both climate justice and energy justice are types of environmental justice.
What is Fair Treatment?
Fair treatment refers to the fair distribution of environmental burdens and benefits, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income. No group of people should bear a disproportionate share of environmental benefits or consequences that results from the implementation of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies.
What is Meaningful Involvement?
Meaningful involvement means that people and communities have the opportunity to participate in decisions about a proposed activity that will affect their environment, health, and/or ability to earn a living.
Environmental Justice & Offshore Wind Development
Incorporating principles of environmental justice in New Hampshire’s offshore wind development will help to ensure that the impacts and benefits are shared fairly among all of New Hampshire’s people. Public participation in New Hampshire’s offshore wind decision-making processes will also help make sure that development is more representative of New Hampshire’s public interests. This can be achieved through municipal action and through state legislative, executive, and regulatory actions.
New Hampshire has the opportunity to learn from neighboring states that are pursuing justice-centered offshore wind policies. Click through the slideshow below to learn more about efforts in other states to prioritize justice and equity during offshore wind development.
Reducing health impacts of fossil fuels
New Hampshire communities experience respiratory, pulmonary, and other negative health effects from fossil fuel pollution. Renewable energy from offshore wind can prevent local pollution by reducing dependence on fossil fuels for heating and transportation.
Other states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, are supporting strong renewable portfolio standards goals and net zero emissions targets, as well as energy efficiency and electric vehicle mandates. Clean energy goals such as these can only be reached by tapping offshore wind resources.
For the health benefits of clean energy to be shared fairly, lower income communities must be ensured access to electric power generation, heating, and transportation New Hampshire funds public benefits related to the provision of electricity through the system benefits charge.