Environmental justice

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All Washington residents, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, have a right to live, work, and recreate in a clean and healthy environment. Low-income communities, communities of color, and indigenous people in Washington and across the country often bear the brunt of pollution and the impacts of climate change. We're committed to making decisions that do not place disproportionate environmental burdens on these communities.

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What is environmental justice?

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and has equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

About our Office of Equity and Environmental Justice

The first statewide law to create a coordinated and inclusive approach to environmental justice was passed by the Washington Legislature in 2021. Soon after, our Office of Equity & Environmental Justice was established.

Our Office of Equity and Environmental Justice leads our agency strategy to reduce pollution and health disparities in communities most at risk. This office also helps us identify governmental barriers for at-risk communities and determines how we can remove those barriers. We're working on the following: 

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Conduct a service equity analysis of our agency.

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Develop strategic plans that include environmental justice strategies.

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Conduct environmental justice assessments when we develop new grant and loan programs.