Environmental Justice Community Participation Fund Grant
We developed the Environmental Justice Community Participation Fund Grant program to support meaningful participation and engagement with the Environmental Justice Council and state agencies around the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act. This program awards $400,000 in pass-through funding to a statewide community-based environmental justice organization to create an Environmental Justice Community Participation Fund. The funds are then allocated as sub-grants to other community-based organizations around Washington state.
We are pleased to announce that we will work with Front and Centered to develop this fund for 2023-2024.
Community Advisory Committee
We recognize that community leadership is a core principle of environmental justice and is central to the intention and spirit of the HEAL Act and this grant program. From September 2022 – January 2023, we worked with a Community Advisory Committee to develop the Environmental Justice Community Participation Fund grant program. This committee had nine members representing communities highly impacted by environmental harms across Washington state. This committee oversaw the development of the request for applications and evaluation criteria, reviewed applications, and selected a grantee.
Community Advisory Committee members: Madison Rose Bristol, Travis Casey, Lea Draven, Glenda Duldulao, Ulises Navarro, Malissa Paulsen, Demarus Tevuk, Brian Tracey, and J. Kimberly Walker.
To learn more about the Community Advisory Committee, see the materials below or contact Leah Wood.
Community Engagement Plans
The environmental justice law known as the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL), passed in 2020. Chapter 70A.02 RCW provides a roadmap for integrating environmental justice into state agencies. The law requires seven state agencies to create and adopt community engagement plans by July 1, 2022. For this and other parts of HEAL, agencies work closely with the Environmental Justice Council, which consists of members appointed by the Governor. HEAL states that the Environmental Justice Council will provide guidance on community engagement plans as agencies create and update them. HEAL also requires that each covered agency consider the guidance developed by the Council. See the Environmental Justice Council website for more details on the role of the Council.
HEAL directed the Department of Health to convene the first meeting of the Council by January 1, 2022. However, the Council was not fully appointed and seated until March of 2022. Because of those delays, April 4, 2022 was the earliest practical date the Council could have convened. HEAL also created an Interagency Work Group to coordinate work among the seven HEAL agencies and others that decide to follow its guidelines. The Interagency Work Group began drafting community engagement plans in January 2022 while awaiting seating of the Environmental Justice Council.
The current draft of agency community engagement plans has not yet been reviewed by the Environmental Justice Council.
As an agency, we are committed to a strong partnership with the Environmental Justice Council as we integrate environmental justice into agency activities. We are mindful of our duty to the legislature and people of Washington to adopt a community engagement plan by July 1, 2022.
In balancing these interests and obligations, our agency is adopting a provisional community engagement plan. The future implementation of this provisional plan is dependent on coordination with the Environmental Justice Council and will incorporate guidance from the Council, communities across Washington state, and will include Tribal Consultation.
Following adoption of the provisional community engagement plan, our agency and the other agencies named in HEAL will incorporate guidance from the Council. Our agency will collaborate with the other agencies implementing the HEAL Act and the EJ Council to hold Community listening and feedback sessions to co-author needed changes to the provisional community engagement plans. Agencies will also conduct Tribal Consultation. Our agency will regularly partner with the Council, community, and Tribes over the coming years to update our Community Engagement plan. The Community Engagement Plan is a living document that will evolve as our agency builds a relationship with the EJ Council and Washingtonians as environmental justice is implemented across state agencies.