Draft Community Engagement Guide


The environmental justice law (SB 5141) known as the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL), passed in 2021. 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 (EJ Council), which consists of members appointed by the Governor. HEAL states that the EJ 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 EJ Council.  See the Environmental Justice Council website for more details on the role of the EJ Council.

HEAL directed the Department of Health to convene the first meeting of the EJ Council by January 1, 2022. However, the EJ Council was not fully appointed and seated until March 2022. Because of those delays, April 4, 2022, was the earliest practical date the EJ Council could meet. HEAL also created an Interagency Workgroup to coordinate work among the seven HEAL agencies and others that decide to follow its guidelines. The Interagency Workgroup began drafting the guide for community engagement plans in January 2022 while awaiting seating of the EJ Council.

The EJ Council has not reviewed the current versions of the interagency DRAFT community engagement guide and DRAFT agency-specific community engagement plans.

The Puget Sound Partnership is committed to a strong partnership with the EJ Council as we integrate environmental justice into agency activities. This work is led by the Equity and Environmental Justice Team and implemented agency-wide. The Partnership’s Executive Director Laura Bradstreet is committed to her role as an Ex Officio member of the EJ Council. 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 the interagency DRAFT community engagement guide as our provisional community engagement plan. Our future work to tailor this plan to agency-specific activities and implement it will be dependent on coordination with the EJ Council and will incorporate guidance from the EJ Council and communities across Washington state, and will include tribal consultation.  The Partnership will actively seek to engage and consult with tribal nations as we develop our complementary Tribal Engagement plan.

Following adoption of the provisional community engagement plan, our agency and the other agencies named in HEAL will incorporate guidance from the EJ Council.  Our agency will collaborate with the Interagency Workgroup 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 EJ 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.

Last updated: 02/20/24


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