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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.”

Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act –
Support Senate Bill 5141

Where you live, your income, race, or language ability should not determine how healthy and safe you are. But tragically 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, Senate Bill 5141, will center those most affected by pollution as Washington transitions to a green economy. To do this, the HEAL Act will define ‘environmental justice’ in state law, outline how agencies should consider community needs and environmental justice (EJ) in their work, establish a permanent EJ Council to work with these agencies and help create EJ legislation, and expand equitable community 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.

TAKE ACTION

Support the HEAL Act, SB 5141

Our moment to stand up for environmental justice is here! The Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (SB 5141) received its first legislative hearing on January 20 in the Senate Energy, Environment, and Technology Committee. Now we need you to take action to ensure this bill passed out of committee.

We must ensure this critical committee hears that environmental justice is important for Washington State and we will not rest until the Evergreen State is green for all.

As the Environmental Health Disparities Map illustrates, not all communities are impacted by pollution the same, and communities most impacted have higher percentages of people of color and those with lower incomes.

The HEAL Act is an incredible opportunity to address this disparity by ensuring our state uses the principles of justice and inclusion in the implementation of environmental policies. This would allow every person to reside in a clean and safe environment regardless of their race, income, language, or other such circumstances that have most defined our life experience. The HEAL Act would make Washington State’s environmental programs more effective by requiring that they pursue an equitable standard of environmental health quality in every community. Thank you for your action and support!

Key Priorities In the Proposed Bill

  1. Define EJ in state law and require its application, use 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 EJ.

  4. Advance equitable community participation in planning, resource allocation, programs, and enforcement. This includes: agency community engagement planning, screening tools like the Washington Environmental Health Disparities (WA-EHD) Map, reducing barriers to contracting with community-based organizations and consultation with Tribes.

  5. Create and fund an EJ Council that will support integrating EJ into state government and report progress to the Governor and establish the Office of the EJ Advocate to ensure agencies comply with the obligations of the HEAL Act.

  6. Require an EJ assessment of proposed and historic environment bills, rulemakings, and budgets using the WA-EHD Map and other tools.

  7. Fund and apply the WA-EHD 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!

  • 350 Bellingham
  • 350 Everett, WA
  • 350 Seattle
  • 350 Spokane Climate Change
  • 350 Washington Network
  • Climate Alliance
  • Climate Reality Project – Washington State Coalition
  • Tacoma NAACP
  • South Seattle Climate Action Network
  • Sunrise SWWA
  • Transportation Choices Coalition
  • Prospect Congregational United Church of Christ
  • Seattle Foundation
  • Collaborative Solutions, Inc.
  • Surge Reproductive Justice
  • Molecule LLC

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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COMMUNITY COUNCIL ORGANIZATION MEMBERS