Policy Options

Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts



NCEL Point of Contact



This one-pager provides some examples of environmental justice and cumulative impacts legislation from across the country.

Legislative Examples

California A.B.649 (2022): Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery: Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Relations

  • Summary: This bill would establish the Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Relations within the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. The bill would ensure that the department’s programs effectively address the needs of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, California Native American tribes, and farmworkers.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Assemb. Steve Bennett (D-CA-038), Assemb. James Ramos (D-CA-045) 

Colorado H.B.21-1266 (2021): Environmental Justice Disproportionately Impacted Community

  • Summary: Defines “disproportionately impacted community” and requires the air quality control commission to promote outreach to and engage with disproportionately impacted communities by creating new ways to gather input from communities across the state, using multiple languages and formats, and transparently sharing information about adverse effects resulting from its proposed actions. Creates the environmental justice action task force in the department of public health and environment.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Rep. Dominique Jackson (D-CO-042) Sen. Janet Buckner (D-CO- 029)

Georgia H.B.432 (2021): Georgia Environmental Justice Act of 2021

  • Summary: Creates the Environmental Justice Commission to provide that as a prerequisite for obtaining certain permits in neighborhoods consisting of persons of color or from low-income families, applicants shall take certain actions to mitigate health hazards; to provide that governmental agencies shall consider the disproportionate effect of environmental hazards on people of color or people from low-income families in implementing certain environmental policies; to provide that no person in Georgia shall be excluded from any state-funded program or activity because of race, color, or national origin.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Rep. Karla Drenner (D-GA-085), Rep. Derrick Jackson (D- GA-064) (original cosponsor)

Maryland H.B. 1200 (2022): Environment—Permit Applications—Environmental Justice Screening

  • Summary: Requires a company or person applying for certain permits from the Department of the Environment to include in the application the EJ score from the Maryland EJ tool for the census tract where the applicant is seeking the permit. The department is required to review the EJ score to verify the applicant’s information.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Del. Melissa Wells (D-MD-040)

Massachusetts H.5085 (2022): An Act to improve outdoor and indoor air quality for communities burdened by transportation pollution.

  • Summary: Will address and improve outdoor and indoor air quality in communities overburdened with air emissions from highways, ports, airports, and congested roadways. Aims to expand outdoor air monitoring in pollution hotspots, set air quality targets by 2030 and 2035, require installation of air filters in existing eligible buildings within 200 meters of congested roadways, update the state sanitary code to improve mold enforcement, and update the building code to improve air quality in newly constructed buildings.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Rep. Christine Barber (D-MA-034)

Minnesota H.F.2334 (2021): Environmental justice considerations provided in state permitting

  • Summary: Identifies an environmental justice area of concern as a census tract where 40% of people reported income of less than 200% of the federal poverty level, 45% of people identify as people of color, or a tract on federally recognized Indian land. The Pollution Control Agency will enforce emission standards and be equipped with air monitoring equipment that will address inequities in impacted communities.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Rep. Esther Agbaje (D-MN-059B), Rep. Fue Lee (D-MN- 059A) (original cosponsor)

New Jersey S.232 (2020): Requires DEP to evaluate environmental and public health stressors of certain facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications.

  • Summary: Identifies municipalities with neighborhoods that are overburdened by the effects of pollution. Overburdened is defined as census blocks that have at least 35% of households that qualify as low-income households, at least 40% of residents who identify as minority or as members of a state-recognized tribal community, or at least 40% of households with limited English proficiency. Targeted polluting facilities include major sources of air pollution, waste-to-energy facilities, sewage treatment plants, transfer stations, and landfills.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Sen. Troy Singleton (D-NJ-007), Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D- NJ-037)

New York S.8830 (2022): Makes provisions regarding the siting of environmental facilities in minority communities or economically distressed areas.

  • Summary: Defines disadvantaged communities and establishes a host of provisions regulating the equitable siting of environmental facilities across the state. Will also require environmental impact statements to state whether the siting of the facility will pose a disproportionate burden on disadvantaged communities.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-NY-035), Sen. Cordell Cleare (D-NY-030) 

North Carolina H.784 (2021): Environmental Justice Considerations

  • Summary: Would require the Department of Environmental Quality to deny permit requests from companies looking to construct solid waste management facilities or other projects if the department finds the facility would have an adverse impact on communities protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-NC-061), Rep. Robert Reives (D-NC-054) 

Oregon H.B.2842 (2021): Establishes Healthy Homes Program within the Oregon Health Authority to provide grants to entities to provide financial assistance to low-income households and landlords.

  • Summary: Aims to make homes safer to live in for all residents, especially those impacted by environmental justice factors.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Rep. Pam Marsh (D-OR-005), Rep. Khanh Pham (D-OR-046) 

Rhode Island S.B.2087 (2022): An Act Relating To State Affairs And Government—Environmental Justice Act

  • Summary: This act would require the division of statewide planning to create a list of environmental justice areas. Once the list of environmental justice areas is adopted, the act would establish requirements which would have to be met by an applicant prior to division of statewide planning or the coastal resources management council issuing permits for an activity that would increase cumulative impacts on an environmental justice area.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Sen. Dawn Euer (D-RI-013), RI Sen. Ana Quezada (D-RI-002)

Texas H.B. 642 (2022): Relating to the establishment of the Texas Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

  • Summary: Defines environmental justice and establishes the Texas Environmental Justice Advisory. Purpose is to advise state agencies and local governments of environmental justice issues.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-TX-027)

Washington S.B. 5141 (2021): Implementing the Recommendations of the Environmental Justice Task Force.

  • Summary: Defines environmental justice and requires its application, uses a racial justice lens in agency strategic plans, goals, and metric setting, program implementation, enforcement, and reporting affecting the environment. Also ensures tribal sovereignty and rights in environmental justice. Ensures direct funding with environmental benefits toward investments in and determined by communities highly impacted by pollution or climate pollution. Encourages equitable community participation in planning, resource allocations, programs, and enforcement.
  • Primary sponsor(s): Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-WA-037)


NCEL Resources

Empower State Environmental Champions

Your donation funds the fight for equitable actions that protect the environment and our health.