Signed into law by Gov Brown on 3-23-22
This bill renames Environmental Justice Task Force as Environmental Justice Council. Directs Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Health Authority to develop environmental justice mapping tool, and directs natural resource agencies to consider results when developing administrative rules or agency policies or programs.
Ways & Means appropriated $769,749 total: $324,520 General Funds for the Environmental Justice Council to change a task force into a permanent Council adding operating plans, and $123,586 General Funds to OHA, and $191,355 General Funds to the Institute for Natural Resources and the Portland State University Population Research Center, and $129,937 other funds to ODA office of Enterprise Information Services.
The Council’s scope of work is expanded to include all the natural resource agencies with a lot of busy work just so the Council can report to the Governor and the Legislative Assembly every five years on various environmental justice topics, in addition to a separate annual and separate biannual report required under this measure. This measure adds the State Parks and Recreation Department, the State Department of Energy, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to the definition of “natural resource agency” as used in ORS 182.535 to 182.550; and removes the Department of Education from this definition. These entities are required to consider effects of their actions on environmental justice communities, hold hearings at times and locations convenient for people in the communities affected by the decisions, to create a public advocate position, and to report annually to the Governor and the Council on their environmental justice efforts. Develop an environmental justice mapping tool to be developed using an inclusive community engagement process. DAS Enterprise Information Services is directed to recommend data quality standards and methodologies for development and maintenance of the mapping tool. The OSU Institute of Natural Resources is to maintain the mapping tool and make it available electronically through the Oregon Explorer.
“Environmental justice communities” is not defined in statute so any reference in this bill needs to be defined.