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.

CalEPA Environmental Justice Task Force

The CalEPA Environmental Justice Task Force (EJ Task Force) operates under CalEPA’s Enforcement Program. It coordinates the compliance and enforcement work of CalEPA’s boards, departments and office in areas of California that are burdened by multiple sources of pollution and are disproportionately vulnerable to its effects. The EJ Task Force develops new initiatives in communities where increased compliance has the potential to have the greatest impact.

la-initiative-report-cover-image-environmental-justiceInitiative: Los Angeles
In 2015-2016, the Task Force conducted an initiative focused on the Los Angeles communities of Boyle Heights and Pacoima. Both communities are among the top 5 percent of disadvantaged communities in California, according to CalEnviroScreen. For an overview of this initiative, please see the Los Angeles Initiative Report (PDF, 6MB).


FresnoReportInitiative: Fresno
In 2013-2014, the Task Force selected a portion of the city of Fresno and its surrounding unincorporated area for its first initiative, with the goal of increasing compliance with environmental laws in this area. For an overview of this pilot initiative, see the Fresno Initiative Report (PDF, 12MB).



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.

Environmental Justice Small Grants

The CalEPA Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants are available to help eligible 501(c)(3) non-profit community organizations and federally-recognized Tribal governments to address environmental justice issues in areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and hazards. Agency Secretary Rodriquez selected 25 projects for the 2016 EJ Grants funding, doubling the maximum amount per project to $50K and doubling the amount awarded from the last cycle in 2015 to $1.1 million.

Environmental Justice Program Update, June 2016

Environmental Justice Program Update (June 2016)CalEPA is required to report to the Governor and the Legislature every three years on its progress in achieving the objectives of the Intra-Agency Environmental Justice Strategy, adopted in 2004. The CalEPA EJ Program Update Report, June 2016 (PDF, 32 MB) details the considerable accomplishments that CalEPA and its boards, departments and office have made from 2013 to 2015.


The Environmental Justice Community