What is Environmental Justice?
Environmental justice (EJ) recognizes that all people – regardless of race, color, national origin, or income – have the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Attorney General Bob Ferguson launched the Office’s EJ initiative in 2020. The AGO continues to build on this initiative and commits to incorporating EJ and EJ principles across agency activities.
Environmental justice is defined in state law as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, rules, and policies. Environmental justice includes addressing disproportionate environmental and health impacts in all laws, rules, and policies with environmental impacts by prioritizing vulnerable populations and overburdened communities, the equitable distribution of resources and benefits, and eliminating harm.”
What is the Heal Act?
The Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL Act) was passed in 2021 and is Washington’s first state law that defines EJ and creates a coordinated approach to implementing EJ into state agencies.
The AGO voluntarily opted-in to implementing the HEAL Act upon its passage, and is committed to enacting the requirements of the HEAL Act across the agency.