Commission adopts visionary Environmental Justice Policy

Sacramento - The State Lands Commission voted to adopt a comprehensive environmental justice policy at its meeting yesterday in San Diego. The Policy sets out 12 goals and a strong Implementation Blueprint and will guide the Commission’s land and resource management duties in the coming years.

"The State Lands Commission has taken a major step in advancing environmental justice and equity in California," said Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, member of the State Lands Commission. "Once again, the Commission has shown its dedication to what matters, learning from the past, and demonstrating its commitment to elevating the voices of low-income communities and communities of color.”

Before adopting the Policy, the Commission activated a robust public engagement effort, meeting with environmental justice communities throughout California. The Commission’s ambition was to create a Policy that was responsive to the views of environmental justice communities, and one that would make a difference.  The new Policy achieves this vision.

“With this Policy, the Commission is embracing the principles of environmental justice,” said State Controller and Commission Chair Betty Yee. “We know that this is an issue that is deeply personal for many people and take our responsibility to implement the new Policy seriously.”

In California, environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures and income with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement to environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

The Commission’s new Policy is intended to improve public access to open space and recreation for disadvantaged or marginalized communities, reduce pollution, support cleaner industry, and achieve more equity in the distribution of environmental benefits and burdens.  It is also intended to result in more inclusive decision-making that considers the disproportionate burdens on disadvantaged communities and Native Nations. Staff will track its progress implementing the Policy and update the Commission regularly at future public meetings.

The California State Lands Commission provides the people of California with effective stewardship of the lands, waterways, and resources entrusted to its care through preservation, restoration, enhancement, responsible economic development, and the promotion of public access. The Commission also protects state waters from marine invasive species introductions and prevents oil spills by providing the best achievable protection of the marine environment at marine oil terminals and offshore oil platforms and production facilities. It also oversees the management of waterfront land and coastal waters granted in trust to about 70 local jurisdictions

The new Policy and Implementation Blueprint are here.