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(1) The environmental justice council is established to advise covered agencies on incorporating environmental justice into agency activities.
(2) The council consists of 14 members appointed by the governor. The councilmembers must be persons who are well-informed regarding and committed to the principles of environmental justice and who, to the greatest extent practicable, represent diversity in race, ethnicity, age, and gender, urban and rural areas, and different regions of the state. The members of the council shall elect two members to serve as cochairs for two-year terms. The council must include:
(a) Seven community representatives, including one youth representative, the nominations of which are based upon applied and demonstrated work and focus on environmental justice or a related field, such as racial or economic justice, and accountability to vulnerable populations and overburdened communities;
(i) The youth representative must be between the ages of 18 and 25 at the time of appointment;
(ii) The youth representative serves a two-year term. All other community representatives serve four-year terms, with six representatives initially being appointed to four-year terms and five being initially appointed to two-year terms, after which they will be appointed to four-year terms;
(b) Two members representing tribal communities, one from eastern Washington and one from western Washington, appointed by the governor. The governor shall solicit and consider nominees from each of the federally recognized tribes in Washington state. The governor shall collaborate with federally recognized tribes on the selection of tribal representatives. The tribal representatives serve four-year terms. One representative must be initially appointed for a four-year term. The other representative must be initially appointed for a two-year term, after which, that representative must be appointed for a four-year term;
(c) Two representatives who are environmental justice practitioners or academics to serve as environmental justice experts, the nominations of which are based upon applied and demonstrated work and focus on environmental justice;
(d)(i) One representative of a business that is regulated by a covered agency and whose ordinary business conditions are significantly affected by the actions of at least one other covered agency; and
(ii) One representative who is a member or officer of a union representing workers in the building and construction trades; and
(e) One representative at large, the nomination of which is based upon applied and demonstrated work and focus on environmental justice.
(3) Covered agencies shall serve as nonvoting, ex officio liaisons to the council. Each covered agency must identify an executive team level staff person to participate on behalf of the agency.
(4) Nongovernmental members of the council must be compensated and reimbursed in accordance with RCW 43.03.050, 43.03.060, and 43.03.220.
(5) The department of health must:
(a) Hire a manager who is responsible for overseeing all staffing and administrative duties in support of the council; and
(b) Provide all administrative and staff support for the council.
(6) In collaboration with the office of equity, the office of financial management, the council, and covered agencies, the department of health must:
(a) Establish standards for the collection, analysis, and reporting of disaggregated data as it pertains to tracking population level outcomes of communities;
(b) Create statewide and agency-specific process and outcome measures to show performance:
(i) Using outcome-based methodology to determine the effectiveness of agency programs and services on reducing environmental disparities; and
(ii) Taking into consideration community feedback from the council on whether the performance measures established accurately measure the effectiveness of covered agency programs and services in the communities served; and
(c) Create an online performance dashboard to publish performance measures and outcomes as referenced in RCW 70A.02.090 for the state and each covered agency.
(7) The department of health must coordinate with the consolidated technology services agency to address cybersecurity and data protection for all data collected by the department.
(8)(a) With input and assistance from the council, the department of health must establish an interagency work group to assist covered agencies in incorporating environmental justice into agency decision making. The work group must include staff from each covered agency directed to implement environmental justice provisions under this chapter and may include members from the council. The department of health shall provide assistance to the interagency work group by:
(i) Facilitating information sharing among covered agencies on environmental justice issues and between agencies and the council;
(ii) Developing and providing assessment tools for covered agencies to use in the development and evaluation of agency programs, services, policies, and budgets;
(iii) Providing technical assistance and compiling and creating resources for covered agencies to use; and
(iv) Training covered agency staff on effectively using data and tools for environmental justice assessments.
(b) The duties of the interagency work group include:
(i) Providing technical assistance to support agency compliance with the implementation of environmental justice into their strategic plans, environmental justice obligations for budgeting and funding criteria and decisions, environmental justice assessments, and community engagement plans;
(ii) Assisting the council in developing a suggested schedule and timeline for sequencing the types of: (A) Funding and expenditure decisions subject to rules; and (B) criteria incorporating environmental justice principles;
(iii) Identifying other policies, priorities, and projects for the council's review and guidance development;
(iv) Identifying goals and metrics that the council may use to assess agency performance in meeting the requirements of chapter 314, Laws of 2021 for purposes of communicating progress to the public, the governor, and the legislature; and
(v) Developing the guidance under subsection (9)(c) of this section in coordination with the council.
(9) The council has the following powers and duties:
(a) To provide a forum for the public to:
(i) Provide written or oral testimony on their environmental justice concerns;
(ii) Assist the council in understanding environmental justice priorities across the state in order to develop council recommendations to agencies for issues to prioritize; and
(iii) Identify which agencies to contact with their specific environmental justice concerns and questions;
(b)(i) The council shall work in an iterative fashion with the interagency work group to develop guidance for environmental justice implementation into covered agency strategic plans pursuant to RCW 70A.02.040, environmental justice assessments pursuant to RCW 70A.02.060, budgeting and funding criteria for making budgeting and funding decisions pursuant to RCW 70A.02.080, and community engagement plans pursuant to RCW 70A.02.050;
(ii) The council and interagency work group shall regularly update its guidance;
(c) In consultation with the interagency work group, the council:
(i) Shall provide guidance to covered agencies on developing environmental justice assessments pursuant to RCW 70A.02.060 for significant agency actions;
(ii) Shall make recommendations to covered agencies on which agency actions may cause environmental harm or may affect the equitable distribution of environmental benefits to an overburdened community or a vulnerable population and therefore should be considered significant agency actions that require an environmental justice assessment under RCW 70A.02.060;
(iii) Shall make recommendations to covered agencies:
(A) On the identification and prioritization of overburdened communities under this chapter; and
(B) Related to the use by covered agencies of the environmental and health disparities map in agency efforts to identify and prioritize overburdened communities;
(iv) May make recommendations to a covered agency on the timing and sequencing of a covered agencies' efforts to implement RCW 70A.02.040 through 70A.02.080; and
(v) May make recommendations to the governor and the legislature regarding ways to improve agency compliance with the requirements of this chapter;
(d) By December 1, 2023, and biennially thereafter, and with consideration of the information shared on September 1st each year in covered agencies' annual updates to the council required under RCW 70A.02.090, the council must:
(i) Evaluate the progress of each agency in applying council guidance, and update guidance as needed; and
(ii) Communicate each covered agency's progress to the public, the governor, and the legislature. This communication is not required to be a report and may take the form of a presentation or other format that communicates the progress of the state and its agencies in meeting the state's environmental justice goals in compliance with chapter 314, Laws of 2021, and summarizing the work of the council pursuant to (a) through (d) of this subsection, and subsection (11) of this section.
(10) By November 30, 2023, and in compliance with RCW 43.01.036, the council must submit a report to the governor and the appropriate committees of the house of representatives and the senate on:
(a) The council's recommendations to covered agencies on the identification of significant agency actions requiring an environmental justice assessment under subsection (9)(c)(ii) of this section;
(b) The summary of covered agency progress reports provided to the council under RCW 70A.02.090(1), including the status of agency plans for performing environmental justice assessments required by RCW 70A.02.060; and
(c) Guidance for environmental justice implementation into covered agency strategic plans, environmental justice assessments, budgeting and funding criteria, and community engagement plans under subsection (9)(c)(i) of this section.
(11) The council may:
(a) Review incorporation of environmental justice implementation plans into covered agency strategic plans pursuant to RCW 70A.02.040, environmental justice assessments pursuant to RCW 70A.02.060, budgeting and funding criteria for making budgeting and funding decisions pursuant to RCW 70A.02.080, and community engagement plans pursuant to RCW 70A.02.050;
(b) Make recommendations for amendments to this chapter or other legislation to promote and achieve the environmental justice goals of the state;
(c) Review existing laws and make recommendations for amendments that will further environmental justice;
(d) Recommend to specific agencies that they create environmental justice-focused, agency-requested legislation;
(e) Provide requested assistance to state agencies other than covered agencies that wish to incorporate environmental justice principles into agency activities; and
(f) Recommend funding strategies and allocations to build capacity in vulnerable populations and overburdened communities to address environmental justice.
(12) The role of the council is purely advisory and council decisions are not binding on an agency, individual, or organization.
(13) The department of health must convene the first meeting of the council by January 1, 2022.
(14) All council meetings are subject to the open public meetings requirements of chapter 42.30 RCW and a public comment period must be provided at every meeting of the council.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Washington Revised Code Title 70A. Environmental Health and Safety § 70A.02.110. Environmental justice council - last updated April 06, 2022 | https://codes.findlaw.com/wa/title-70a-environmental-health-and-safety/wa-rev-code-70a-02-110/
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