On January 22, 2018, Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order to continue environmental justice across Virginia. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines Environmental Justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, faith, national origin, or income, in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.1

Executive Order 29 establishes the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice. The Governor will appoint members to the Council. Applications are being accepted now through February 28. The application can be found online. The Council will be responsible for providing guidance for the development of policies and procedures to address environmental justice. Recommendations on the integration of environmental justice considerations into existing state policies, programs and procedures will also be a duty of the Council.

Governor Northam has directed that the guidance provided by the Council should focus on the following issues:

  • Communication and Partnerships
  • Public Health
  • Local Governments
  • Specific Recommendations Regarding
    • Climate Change and Resilience
    • Transportation Systems
    • Clean Energy Transition
    • Outdoor Access

To learn more about Executive Order 29, visit the Secretary of Natural Resources webpage at https://www.naturalresources.virginia.gov/initiatives/environmental-justice/.