Dave Weber Discusses Washington State’s New Environmental Justice Movement with Law360


Washington State is taking aggressive action to implement legislation addressing environmental justice (EJ). The state passed legislation creating The Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act in 2021. It is the first statewide law in Washington to create a coordinated state agency approach to EJ. The state also created the Climate Commitment Act (CCA), which establishes a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions ‘cap-and-invest’ program with the goal of reducing GHG and criteria pollutants in overburdened communities highly impacted by air pollution. 

In a recent article, Law360 discusses the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (Ecology) efforts to adopt regulations to implement the landmark EJ legislation. Seattle’s Office Managing Principal, Dave Weber, said the 2021 EJ laws "constitute powerful commitments from the state to drive environmental justice.” Ecology is working on the so-called "Improving Air Quality in Overburdened Communities Initiative.” Dave explained that as part of this initiative, Ecology first needs to determine which communities are overburdened by criteria pollution. He noted that Ecology has received hundreds of public comments as part of the rulemaking and will soon issue a final version that identifies overburdened communities. Ecology will then install community air monitoring devices to measure the pollution levels in those overburdened areas. "The data is meaningful and can serve as an organizing tool for environmental justice communities," Dave added. "That's where Ecology is trying to install monitors."

Dave is the founder and editor of B&D’s West Coast Environmental Resource Center, which tracks emerging trends in environmental, regulatory, and EHS issues in Washington, Oregon, and California.

With an office in Seattle, Beveridge & Diamond's Environmental Justice practice has been at the forefront of EJ issues for decades, bringing specialized private sector and government experience to bear. We represent multinational companies and municipal clients in complex disputes and high-profile project development, corporate ethics and governance, environmental compliance, and investigations related to EJ and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enforcement. Our Seattle Office lawyers are committed to continuing their long legacy of addressing the most challenging environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the nation.