Inslee directs agencies to coordinate environmental justice efforts for identifying overburdened communities

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Gov. Jay Inslee issued Directive 24-11 late Friday, directing certain executive and small cabinet agencies to use a uniform approach to be developed by his office for identifying overburdened communities and vulnerable populations. The measure will help state agencies direct and track investments from the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act and the Climate Commitment Act.

The HEAL Act and CCA both emphasize environmental justice. Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of people as environmental policies are developed, implemented and enforced.

The HEAL Act requires certain agencies to direct 40% of all expenditures that create environmental benefits to support vulnerable populations and overburdened communities. The CCA mandates that at least 35% of CCA investments serve overburdened communities, and another 10% serve Tribal Nation-supported projects.

Because there are multiple agencies responsible for HEAL Act or CCA requirements, the directive will ensure they are using the same approach for identifying overburdened communities. The directive is limited to HEAL Act and CCA investments; it is not intended to be used for other purposes.

The Office of Financial Management will post the new approach on its website by July 1, 2024. Agencies will use that approach to direct funding for overburdened communities during the remainder of the 2023-25 biennium. Agencies and OFM could further update the approach in advance of the 2025-27 biennium.

Read the full directive here.