Environmental Justice Program

What is Environmental Justice?

The principles of environmental justice call for fairness, regardless of race, color, national origin or income, in the development of laws and regulations that affect every community’s natural surroundings, and the places people live, work, play and learn.

California was one of the first states in the nation to codify environmental justice in statute. Beyond the fair treatment called for in code, leaders in the environmental justice movement work to include those individuals disproportionately impacted by pollution in decision making processes. The aim is to lift the unfair burden of pollution from those most vulnerable to its effects.

Environmental Justice Small Grants 

The CalEPA Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants help eligible non-profit (501(c)(3) IRS tax designated) community organizations and federally-recognized Tribal governments to address environmental justice issues in areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and hazards. The maximum grant amount is $50,000.

In March 2021, CalEPA announced it is accepting applications for its 2021 grant cycle. For each project, the maximum grant amount is $50,000. CalEPA plans to announce the grant awards in the fall of 2021. The grant term will be 18 months, approximately from fall 2021 through Spring 2023.

Pre-Assistance Webinars – June & July 2021

In June 2021 (June 1st, June 2nd, and 3rd), CalEPA conducted three online pre-application assistance webinars (flyer, .pdf, 96 KB). The information presented in all three webinars were identical. CalEPA responded to questions from potential applicants regarding threshold eligibility criteria, administrative issues related to the submission of the proposal, and requests for clarification about application process. The June 2nd webinar was presented in Spanish and the June 1st and 3rd webinars were presented in English.

July 28, 2021 Joint Workshop with CA Air Resources Board’s Community Air Grant Program – CalEPA EJ Small Grant Program worked partnership with the CARB’s Community Air Grant Program to conduct a joint virtual online webinar workshop on July 28, 2021  that highlighted each of the respective Grant Programs’ 2021 grant applications and share tips on how to develop and write an effective grant proposal. CalEPA also responded to questions during the workshop. The workshop offered simultaneous Spanish translation services. For more information, visit the CalEPA EJ Grant Funding page here.

The 2021 cycle application deadline has been extended to Friday, August 13, 2021, to allow grant applicants more time to develop their application proposals. The previous application deadline was June 30, 2021. See the Applications and Instructions document on the Grants Funding page for information on how to submit an application for award consideration.

In July 2020, CalEPA awarded more than $1 million in grants to for 28 projects. Read the 2020 project summaries and the press release.

CalEnviroScreen Version 3.0

CalEnviroScreen 3.0 is a screening methodology that can be used to help identify California communities that are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution. It is an important tool in meeting CalEPA’s commitment to environmental justice for all.

Draft CalEnviroScreen 4.0

CalEPA EJ Program Update Report (2016 through 2018)

CalEPA is mandated to report to the Governor and Legislature every three years on its progress in achieving the objectives of the Intra-Agency Environmental Justice Strategy, adopted in 2004. A CalEPA Program Update Report is available that reports on the progress made during 2016 through 2018.