REFERENCE TITLE: environmental quality; task force
State of Arizona
Second Regular Session
Senators Peshlakai: Bowie, Bradley, Cajero Bedford, Contreras, Dalessandro, Farley, Hobbs, Mendez, Meza, Miranda, Otondo, Quezada; Representatives Andrade, Benally, Descheenie
amending title 41, chapter 4, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 41-710.02; amending title 49, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding sections 49-118.01 and 49-118.02; relating to the environment.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 41, chapter 4, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 41-710.02, to read:
41-710.02. State agencies; boards; environmental justice policies; definition
A. In consultation with the department of environmental quality, the department of administration shall ensure that all state agencies, boards, commissions and other public bodies that are involved in decisions that may affect environmental quality adopt and implement environmental justice policies that provide meaningful opportunities for involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, income or education level.
B. In consultation with the department of environmental quality, the department of administration shall ensure that all state programs and policies designed to protect the environment be reviewed periodically to ensure that program implementation and dissemination of information meet the needs of low-income and minority communities and address disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards.
C. For the purposes of this section, "environmental justice" means the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures and incomes in the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, policies and programs.
Sec. 2. Title 49, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding sections 49-118.01 and 49-118.02, to read:
49-118.01. Environmental justice; department review; advisory council; membership; council termination; definition
A. The department shall review available environmental and public health data to identify existing and proposed industrial and commercial facilities and areas in communities of color and in low-income communities for which compliance, enforcement, remediation, siting and permitting strategies will be targeted to address the disproportionate impacts from these facilities on those communities.
B. The department shall establish an environmental justice advisory council to advise the department and the environmental justice task force established pursuant to section 49-118.02 on environmental justice issues. the council shall consist of fifteen persons and shall include five persons from grassroots or faith-based community organizations, with additional persons from among statewide environmental, civil rights and public health organizations, the academic public health community, large and small business and industry, municipal and county government and organized labor organizations.
C. The environmental justice advisory council shall meet at least quarterly and shall annually select a chairperson from its membership.
D. The council established pursuant to this section ends July 1, 2026 pursuant to section 41-3103.
E. For the purposes of this section, "environmental justice" means the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures and incomes in the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, policies and programs.
49-118.02. Environmental justice task force; membership; duties; task force termination; definition
A. The director of environmental quality and the director of the department of health services, or their appointed designees, shall convene a multiagency environmental justice task force. the environmental justice task force shall include senior management designees from all of the following:
1. The office of the governor.
2. The office of the attorney general.
3. The department of health services.
4. The Arizona department of agriculture.
5. The department of transportation.
6. The department of education.
B. The environmental justice task force is an advisory body, the purpose of which is to make recommendations to state agency heads regarding actions to be taken to address environmental justice issues that are consistent with each state agency's existing statutory and regulatory authority. The environmental justice task force is authorized to consult with, and expand its membership to, other state agencies as needed to address concerns raised in affected communities.
C. Any community member may file a petition with the environmental justice task force that asserts that residents and workers in the community are subject to disproportionate adverse exposure to environmental health risks or disproportionate adverse effects resulting from the implementation of laws affecting public health or the environment.
D. The environmental justice task force shall identify a set of communities from the petitions filed based on selection criteria developed by the environmental justice task force, including consideration of state agency resource constraints. The environmental justice task force shall meet directly with members of the selected communities to receive information regarding the communities' concerns.
E. After consultation with community members and local governments, as relevant, the environmental justice task force shall develop an action plan for each of the selected communities that will address environmental factors that affect community health and safety. The action plan shall clearly delineate the steps that will be taken in each of the selected communities to reduce existing environmental burdens and to avoid or reduce the imposition of additional environmental burdens through allocation of resources, exercise of regulatory discretion and development of new standards and protections. The action plan, developed in consultation with the environmental justice advisory council established pursuant to section 49-118.01, shall include specific responses to community concerns, a time frame for implementation and the justification for and availability of financial and other resources to implement the plan. The environmental justice task force shall present the action plan to the relevant state agencies or local governments and shall recommend implementation of the action plan.
F. The environmental justice task force shall monitor the implementation of each action plan in the selected communities and shall make recommendations to state agencies and local governments as necessary to facilitate implementation of the action plans. State agencies shall implement the strategy to the fullest extent practicable in light of statutory and resource constraints.
G. The task force established pursuant to this section ends July 1, 2026 pursuant to section 41-3103.
H. For the purposes of this section, "environmental justice" means the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures and incomes in the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, policies and programs.
Sec. 3. Legislative findings and purpose; environmental justice
A. The legislature finds that:
1. Racial and ethnic minority populations and low-income communities bear a disproportionate share of the health risks caused by polluted air and contaminated water and by solid waste landfills, hazardous waste facilities, waste water treatment plants, waste incinerators and other similar projects.
2. This disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on minority and low-income communities is largely the result of past governmental decisions.
3. The federal government underscores the importance of environmental justice by having a national environmental justice advisory council to promote environmental justice in the United States environmental protection agency's policies, programs, initiatives and activities.
4. This state is committed to ensuring that communities are afforded fair treatment and meaningful involvement in decision-making regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, income or education level.
B. The purpose of this act is to establish governmental procedures in order to safeguard residents' health and welfare and to achieve environmental justice.
Sec. 4. Short title
This act may be cited as the "Environmental Justice Act".