Close this search box.

The Disproportionate Burden of Fossil Fuel Air Pollution in Washington State (Report)



Washington State is known to have one of the least polluting power sectors in the country, primarily due to the use of hydro power for 65% of our electricity supply. Because of our relatively clean grid, it is often assumed that local air pollution is not a major climate justice issue for our State.  However, the data shows communities of color in Washington, like elsewhere, are disproportionately impacted by the burning of fossil fuels which leads to climate change.  This report finds that:

  • Communities of color and lower-income people are exposed to more fossil fuel related air pollutants than other populations.
  • In Washington State, there is a 34 point spread between Whites (57) versus Blacks (81) and Asians on an air pollution exposure index (from 0 -none- to 100).
  • The disproportionate exposure to air pollution compounds with existing health and poverty issues more prevalent in communities of color.
  • These cumulative impacts contribute to a situation in which White adults in Washington are living an average of 10 years longer than Black adults, 12 years longer than Hispanic adults, and three years longer than Asian/ Pacific Islander adults.