Environmental Justice Assessments

The HEAL Act requires DOH and other covered agencies to do environmental justice assessments when considering significant agency actions. Significant agency actions can cause environmental harms or benefits to overburdened communities and vulnerable populations. The environmental justice assessments should determine the potential impacts of an action on these groups.  

An environmental justice assessment asks agencies to identify all of the following: 

  • Overburdened communities and vulnerable populations who may be impacted by the action. 
  • Environmental benefits and harms caused by the action. 
  • Health impacts associated with the environmental benefits and harms of the action. 
  • Options for the agency to mitigate, reduce, or eliminate environmental harms and to equitably distribute benefits associated with the action. 

To complete an environmental justice assessment, agencies must engage with members of overburdened communities and vulnerable populations. Agencies must offer consultation to impacted tribes. Agencies must also use tools like the Environmental Health Disparities Map to identify areas impacted by multiple types of exposure to pollution and other cumulative environmental harms. 

To guide agency staff through these requirements for EJ assessments and document how the agency is meeting the obligations of the law, we are using a detailed reporting template (PDF).

We will post environmental justice assessments to this website once complete. Subscribe to HEAL Act email updates from the Department of Health.  

Significant Agency Actions 

Starting July 1, 2023, the HEAL Act requires us to complete an environmental justice assessment for the following types of significant agency actions: 

  • Adopting or developing significant legislative rules. (RCW 34.05.328) 
  • Adopting or developing new grant or loan programs initiated after July 1, 2023. 
  • Designing or awarding capital projects, grants, or loans of $12 million or more. 
  • Developing agency request legislation. 

We can identify additional types of significant agency actions, in addition to the above, which will require environmental justice assessments starting July 1, 2025. We are beginning a process to identify actions that may benefit from an environmental justice assessment. We held an informal public comment period from May 5 – June 15, 2023 to learn from the public what types of actions they would like DOH to consider and how we can communicate about environmental justice assessments. View the Public Comment Summary and Responses (PDF). The public will have additional opportunities public to participate in this process in the future. 

Actions Initiating an Environmental Justice Assessment 

Water Recreation Facilities Agency Request Legislation (PDF)

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program Rulemaking (PDF)

Private Detention Facilities Rulemaking (PDF) 

Cottage Food Operations Agency Request Legislation (PDF)

Community Informed Budgeting Grant (PDF)

Workplace Safety and Climate Change Grant Program (PDF)

HEAL Capacity Grants (PDF)

We will post addition notifications of environmental justice assessments here. 

Completed Environmental Justice Assessments 

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program Report (PDF)

For questions about environmental justice assessments or significant agency actions, contact the DOH HEAL Act team