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Healthy Environment For All (HEAL) Act

“An equitable governing council of leaders who serve on behalf of the coalition. With diverse program missions, they possess expertise in racial justice and power building and collectively work at the intersection of equity, environmental and climate justice.”

Where you live, your income, race, or language ability should not determine how healthy and safe you are. But we know that in our communities, health and well-being varies significantly according to who you are and where you live. People across Washington who are suffering worst from pollution — often low-income people, communities of color, and linguistically-isolated people — pay with their well-being and shortened lives.

The HEAL Act aims to center those most affected by pollution as Washington transitions to a greener and fairer economy. The HEAL Act does this by defining ‘environmental justice’ in state law, outlining how agencies should consider community needs and environmental justice in their work, establishing a permanent Environmental Justice Council to work with these agencies and help create environmental justice legislation, and expanding equitable community engagement and participation. The HEAL Act is an essential piece of our overall 2021 Legislative Priorities this session as we aim to accelerate a Just Transition toward climate and environmental justice.

Key Priorities In the Proposed Bill

  1. Define environmental justice (EJ) in state law and require its application, using a racial justice lens, in agency strategic plans, goals, and metric setting, program implementation, enforcement, and reporting affecting the environment.

  2. Direct funding with environmental benefits toward investments in and determined by communities highly impacted by pollution or climate impacts.

  3. Ensure Tribal sovereignty and rights in Environmental Justice.

  4. Advance equitable community participation in planning, resource allocation, programs, and enforcement. This includes: agency community engagement planning, targeted outreach and language accessibility, screening tools like the Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map, reducing barriers to funding and facilitating agency contracting with community based organizations for community engagement, compliance reviews, and consultation with Washington Tribes.

  5. Create and fund an Environmental Justice Council that will support integrating EJ into state government and report progress to the Governor.

  6. Require EJ assessment of proposed and historic environment bills, rulemakings, and budgets using the Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map and other tools.

  7. Fund and apply the Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map to identify cumulative impacts and overburdened communities and develop additional tools to measure the link between environmental quality and human health, disaggregated by race.

Endorsements

Complete this form to endorse the HEAL Act of 2021 and join our campaign listserv for email updates. Your participation is meaningful and strengthens our campaign to allow everyone in Washington to live in a healthy and safe environment no matter who they are, what language they speak, or how much money they have. Thank you!

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  • 350 Bellingham
  • 350 Everett, WA
  • 350 Seattle
  • 350 Washington Network
  • Climate Alliance
  • Climate Reality Project – Washington State Coalition
  • NAACP
  • Sound Decisions Consulting
  • South Seattle Climate Action Network
  • Sunrise SWWA
  • Transportation Choices Coalition
  • Union of Concerned Scientist
  • On January 7, 2020, Front & Centered hosted a virtual briefing for advocates, community members, and media across Washington state to highlight key environmental justice policies being considered in the 2021 Legislative Session with a particular focus on the HEAL Act.

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