SB 5126 Climate Commitment Act

Signed into law on 5/17/2021, went into effect 7/25/2021, implementation timeline varies.  

This Act established a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-invest program. It is not solely an environmental justice-focused law, but does reiterate the goals and EJ framework of SB 5141. It furthers the Department of Ecology’s community engagement plan requirements. “The department must create and adopt a supplement to the department’s community engagement plan developed pursuant to 32 chapter . . ., Laws of 2021 (Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 33 No. 5141). The supplement must describe how the department will engage with overburdened communities and vulnerable populations in: (i) Identifying emitters in overburdened communities; and (ii) Monitoring and evaluating criteria pollutant emissions in those areas. (b) The community engagement plan must include methods for outreach and communication with those who face barriers, language or otherwise, to participation.” 

Allocations of the carbon emissions reduction account, the climate investment account or the air quality and health disparities improvement account by the agencies must “establish a minimum of not less than 35 percent and a goal of 40 percent of total investments that provide direct and meaningful benefits to vulnerable populations within the boundaries of overburdened communities through: (a) The direct reduction of environmental burdens in overburdened communities; (b) the reduction of disproportionate, cumulative risk from environmental burdens, including those associated with climate change; (c) the support of community led project development, planning, and participation costs; or (d) meeting a community need identified by the community that is consistent with the intent of this chapter.” 

  • Action Agency(ies): Department of Ecology, Department of Health
  • Policy Champions: Pushback from EJ groups around this bill, including the coalition Front and Centered, related to loopholes in the cap-and-invest program and slow timeline for implementation.Supporters include:Environmental Defense Fund, Low Carbon Prosperity Institute
  • Read the full policy language

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