No More New Schools Near Highways in New York
Air pollution near schools negatively affects students’ health and learning. That problem is being addressed in New York State with the SIGH Act (Schools Impacted by Gross Highways), which has passed the State Senate and Assembly, and is waiting to be signed by the governor.
The legislation prohibits (with exceptions) siting of new schools within 500 feet of a controlled-access highway, addressing what some groups have identified as an environmental injustice. A third of students in the state attend schools near a highway, and approximately 80% of those attending these schools are students of color, according to an analysis by the ACLU of New York.
Subsequent legislation being pushed by ACLU of New York would prohibit development of new highways near existing schools and address air quality at existing schools through funding for ventilation, filtration, and plantings.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published advice for mitigating the effects of outdoor air pollution in existing schools and also offers extensive siting guidelines for new schools.
Melton, P. (2022, August 23). No More New Schools Near Highways in New York. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/no-more-new-schools-near-highways-new-york