Improving Air Quality in Overburdened Communities Initiative

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The "Improving Air Quality in Overburdened Communities Initiative" is a new effort to reduce air pollution in Washington communities highly impacted by air pollution. While the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) focuses on greenhouse gas emissions, Section 3 of the CCA also requires that we work to reduce other forms of air pollution — like ozone and fine particles — in overburdened communities highly impacted by air pollution. 

This new law requires us to:

  • Identify which Washington communities are overburdened by air pollution and the significant sources of this pollution.
  • Expand and improve Washington's air quality monitoring network.
  • Develop strategies to reduce criteria air pollutants in overburdened communities.
  • Conduct periodic analysis to make sure reduction goals for air pollution are being met.

Environmental justice is at the center of this initiative. We are building this initiative over time to best serve the needs of the public.

Fall 2022

The Fall 2022 public comment period has closed. We are reviewing public comments and revising draft factors to determine the method for identifying which Washington communities are most impacted by criteria air pollutants. Thank you for your participation. We anticipate finalizing identification of overburdened communities by the end of the year and announcing them in January 2023.

Supporting documents

Future work

Input from community members across Washington is essential to the "Improving Air Quality in Overburdened Communities Initiative." Based on the expanded air quality monitoring network, we will work with local governments, local clean air agencies, Tribes, and other stakeholders to develop new emission control mechanisms and potential regulations to address criteria air pollution in the identified communities through separate processes, with additional opportunities for involvement.

2022-2023 Timeline

Jan. - March 2022

Used community feedback from a survey and listening sessions to develop draft indicators to identify overburdened communities.
Late Summer 2022 Informed communities about common themes from our first public comment period and how we used public input to develop draft indicators.
Fall 2022 Gathered public comment about draft indicators and the process to determine overburdened communities.
Winter 2022-2023 Finalize indicators and use them to identify communities.
Inform communities about the results.
Start air monitor placement process in identified communities.

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