I am thrilled to share our new resource, the Community Report on Environmental Justice, which highlights the content of ten different conversations our coalition members hosted with their communities to advance the mission of a healthy and just Washington State.
Held between October 2019-September 2020, these conversations reflect the voice of communities most burdened by pollution as a result of their race, health, wealth, and where they live, among other key factors. We captured the aspirations, ideas, concerns, and questions that arose from these conversations and turned them into the second iteration of the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (SB 5141). Shaping this grounding breaking legislation was the basis of these conversations. The HEAL Act aims to make EJ the priority of state environmental laws and programs. Thus, hearing the perspective of those who bear the brunt of environmental injustice ensures the policy is designed to meet its purpose – to heal and protect the environment for all Washington residents.
The HEAL Act serves to improve government performance in achieving the objectives of environmental laws already on the books. But it does not create any new environmental programs or regulations. Yet, the conversations included a trove of ideas that can be translated into new policies covering food access, tenant rights, vehicle electrification, waste management, and more. As we continue our work to pursue holistic and comprehensive solutions to address climate change and pollution, we will draw on this rich resource of insights of our members and the communities they serve.