The HEAL Act creates a coordinated approach to reducing environmental and health disparities across Washington State. This will be done by integrating EJ principles, practices, and assessments into several state agency activities, including: strategic plans, community engagement plans, and decision processes for budget development, expenditures, and granting or withholding benefits.
The HEAL Act requires seven state agencies to apply specific EJ requirements to agency actions. These agencies are the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Ecology, Health, Natural Resources, and Transportation, and the Puget Sound Partnership. Other agencies may opt-in to implement the HEAL Act.
The HEAL Act establishes the EJ Council. Members of the EJ Council are appointed by the Governor and advise covered and opt-in agencies on incorporating EJ into agency activities.
The HEAL Act places an emphasis on the prioritization of vulnerable populations and overburdened communities within agency efforts in EJ activities.
The HEAL Act directs the Department of Health to continue maintaining and regularly updating the Washington Environmental Health Disparities (EHD) Map.
- July 1, 2022: Develop community engagement plan
- September 1, 2022 (annual): EJ Council report
- January 1, 2023: Integrate EJ implementation plan into agency strategic plan
- July 1, 2023: EJ assessments for significant agency actions
- July 1, 2023: Begin periodic publication of sig. agency actions and EJ assessment results on agency website and with WA State Register
- July 1, 2023: Incorporate EJ principles into decision processes for budgeting, funding, and expenditures
- September 1, 2024: Publish annual dashboard report on OFM website on implementation progress
- July 1, 2025: Define additional significant agency actions
- Ongoing: Develop tribal consultation framework in coordination with tribal governments