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October 2, 2023, 12:26 am

Environmental Justice

Contra Costa County defines Environmental Justice as the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of all environmental laws, regulations, and polices. This policy was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in a Board Order on September 23rd, 2003.

The Hazardous Materials Commission involvement with Environmental Justice began much earlier, with a report to the Board of Supervisors on the topic in October of 2000. The Board of Supervisors accepted this report on October 24, 2000, endorsed the State definition of Environmental Justice, directed the County Administrator to assemble the appropriate County Departments to work with the Hazardous Materials Commission to develop and implement policies related to Environmental Justice and established an Ad Hoc committee of the Board to work with the Board and the CAO on this issue.

In 2008, the Commission wrote a letter to County Counsel asking them for information about the implementation of the EJ policy. A response was provided later that year (link 5). 

A history of Environmental Justice and the County's actions up until early 2008 can be found in this power point presentation (PDF version).

Later in 2008, the Hazardous Materials Commission sent the Board of Supervisors a letter recommending certain actions be taken to implement the County's Environmental Justice policy.

In 2015, the Commission again surveyed the activities of County Departments concerning implementation of the County's Environmental Justice policy and wrote the Board of Supervisors another letter recommending certain actions be taken to implement the County's Environmental Justice policy.

Currently, the Commission is reviewing proposed Goals, Policies and Actions to be added to the update of the County's General Plan in accordance with the requirements of SB 1000. A summary of the proposed Goals, Policies and Actions related to Environmental Justice was prepared by the County's consultant, Placeworks. Excerpts that related to hazardous materials issues are provided.

The Hazardous Materials Commission developed two sets of recommended changes to the proposed General Plan Environmental Justice Policies and Actions for the Board of Supervisors (Letter: February 1, 2021 | March 1, 2021). The Commission will review future drafts of the General Plan update to determine if any of their recommendations were adopted.