Environmental Justice Community Engagement

Environmental Justice Community Participation Fund Grant

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is excited to announce the formation of a Community Advisory Committee to support and oversee the development of an Environmental Justice Community Participation Fund Grant program. The aim of this program is to award a $400,000 pass-through grant to a statewide community-based environmental justice organization for the creation of an Environmental Justice Community Participation Fund. This Fund will be used to allocate smaller funds to other community-based organizations around Washington State to support meaningful participation and engagement with the Environmental Justice Council and state agencies around the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act

DOH recognizes that community leadership is a core principle of environmental justice and is central to the intention and spirit of the HEAL Act. The DOH has assembled a Community Advisory Committee to oversee development of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for this grant and to select a grantee. The Community Advisory Committee will be meeting from September-December 2022 and aims to release an RFP in the Autumn 2022 and to select a grantee by early 2023. The selected grantee will be asked to set up the Fund by June 30, 2023 and distribution of funds to sub-grantees will continue through until June 30, 2024. 

If you are interested in receiving updates or have any questions, please contact the HEAL Act Team

August 16, 2022 Community Advisory Committee Information Session Material

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 have 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.

Provisional Community Engagement Plan for HEAL Act Implementation - DRAFT July 2022 (PDF)