Air Quality Awareness Week – Day 4: Air Quality & Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, Tribal affiliation, or disability with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Fair treatment means no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies.

This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:

  • The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards.
  • Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

Meaningful involvement means:

  • People have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health.
  • The public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision.
  • Community concerns will be considered in the decision-making process.
  • Decision makers will seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.

See more national EJ work at Environmental Justice | US EPA

State of Washington’s Environmental Justice Programs

The first statewide law to create a coordinated and inclusive approach to environmental justice was passed by the Washington Legislature in 2021. That law led to the establishment of the Office of Equity & Environmental Justice.

The Washington Department of Ecology’s Office of Equity and Environmental Justice focuses on reducing pollution and health disparities in communities most at risk. This office also helps us identify governmental barriers for at-risk communities and determines how we can remove those barriers. ORCAA works in conjunction with the state on these issues.

See more at Environmental justice – Washington State Department of Ecology


Media Contact

Dan Nelson

Communications/Outreach Manager