As Black History Month begins, we’re highlighting the equity and environmental justice work taking place at Virginia’s General Assembly.

By definition, environmental justice is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” For too long, communities of color have disproportionately faced the economic, environmental, and public health impacts of polluted air, land, and water. All Virginians deserve the benefits of our environmental protections and a voice in the decisions that impact our well-being.

Here are just some of the policies that JRA and our partners are supporting to advance environmental justice throughout the Commonwealth.

  • Equitable protection from untreated wastewater: Senator Hashmi’s SB1396 makes wastewater treatment an environmental, economic, and public health priority, and helps low income households replace failing septic systems that may be placing their health and local waterways at risk. More from JRA.
  • Engaging communities earlier: Senator McClellan and Delegate Hayes have bills (SB1373/HB2221) to give communities earlier notice about projects that may impact their well-being and public opportunities to express concerns. More from the CBF.
  • Putting EJ into action: The Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative and New Virginia Majority are working with Senator Hashmi and Delegate Simonds on bills (SB1318 and HB2074) that build on the Virginia Environmental Justice Act of 2020. Learn more.
  • Water as a human right: Virginia Interfaith Power and Light has what you need to know about a resolution, HJ538, by Delegate Laschrese Aird declaring that access to equitable access to clean, affordable drinking water is a human right. More from VAIPL.
  • Uncovering untold histories: Senator McClellan’s budget amendment (385 #5s) provides $250,000 to the Department of Historic Resources to survey historic resources related to African American and Virginia Indian communities. More from Piedmont Environmental Council.

To learn more about all the bills being supported by the environmental community, including those focused on environmental justice, go to