Not all neighborhoods and communities experience climate change equally. This is why environmental justice and equity are at the center of Washington’s climate policies. Those who suffer most from the impacts of climate change must be among those who benefit from climate and environmental policies.
The Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL Act) is the first statewide law to create a coordinated and collaborative approach to environmental justice in multiple state agencies. The policy created an Environmental Justice Council that advises state agencies on how to ensure the state makes consistent progress on health equity and environmental justice.
Climate Commitment Act funding
The Climate Commitment Act (CCA) requires that at least 35% of funds be invested in projects that benefit overburdened communities, and a minimum of 10% go to projects with Tribal support. This is a unique feature that differentiates the CCA from other market-based carbon pricing systems.
Environmental Health Disparities Map
The Washington State Department of Health launched an environmental health disparities map in 2019. Users can compare neighborhood-level data frequently linked to health and safety such as diesel pollution and ozone levels, how close a neighborhood is to hazardous waste sites, and poverty rates. The map provides an important tool for decisionmakers about where to prioritize public investments.