Today, in a community gathering at the Duwamish Tribe’s Longhouse and Cultural Center, Governor Jay Inslee signed the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act into law. The legislation will put environmental justice at the forefront of the state’s strategic plans, programs, community engagement, and spending decisions. It will also require state agencies to conduct environmental justice assessments to see what agency actions could be done to help overburdened communities.
The bill defines environmental justice as:
The groundbreaking HEAL act puts those most impacted by pollution at the center of solutions as Washington moves to a green economy. By following the lead of communities and adding equity and justice across environmental actions, the HEAL Act will serve as a model of change for future policy-making.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Rebecca Saldaña and moved forward with years of advocacy from Front and Centered, a statewide coalition of communities of color-led groups, such as Puget Sound Sage and Duwamish Cleanup.
While Washington Wild focuses primarily on the conservation of wildlands and waterways in our great state, we believe that Environmental Justice is a needed cornerstone of the conservation movement. As the effects of Climate Change worsen, it’s imperative that the communities most vulnerable to its impacts have the necessary tools for their health, safety, and well-being. That’s why we enthusiastically support the passing of this landmark legislation!