Environmental justice is defined as “the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” in Government Code Section 65040.12. In 2016, the Governor signed AB 2616 (Burke), which amended the Coastal Act and gives the Commission new authority to specifically consider environmental justice when making permit decisions. This legislation also cross-references existing non-discrimination and civil rights law in the government code and requires the governor to appoint an environmental justice Commissioner to our board.

Commission staff is currently in the process of developing an environmental justice policy to provide both the public and the Commission with guidance on how the agency will carry out this new authority.

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Effie Turnbull-Sanders

Governor Brown appointed Vice Chair Turnbull-Sanders as the environmental justice commissioner in 2017.

Staff Team

Environmental Justice Policy Story Map

Environmental Justice Policy – Public Review Draft

The first public comment period on the Commission's draft Environmental Justice Policy closed on November 7th, 2018. If you have questions about the draft policy or environmental justice work at the Commission, please email environmentaljustice@coastal.ca.gov or contact a member of the staff team.

Updated Timeline for Adoption – March 2019
The timeline for adoption of a final version of the Commission’s Environmental Justice Policy has been updated. Currently, staff is reviewing all of the public comments and incorporating suggestions into the draft Environmental Justice Policy or upcoming Strategic Plan, which will lay out an action plan for the agency’s next five years. Staff aims to release a final Environmental Justice Policy after addressing public comments received, with the goal of adopting the policy next year at the Coastal Commission public meeting in March 2019.

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Resources for Public Comment

Public Comment Opportunities

The Coastal Commission & Environmental Justice

Public Engagement Strategy


Upcoming Events

  • Currently there are no upcoming events related to the Coastal Commission Environmental Justice work. If you would like staff to attend or host any meetings and events in your community,
    Please email environmentaljustice@coastal.ca.gov.

Past Events


The California Coastal Commission is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations. It does so through careful planning and regulation of environmentally-sustainable development, rigorous use of science, strong public participation, education, and effective intergovernmental coordination.

The Coastal Commission acknowledges its role in making California’s coast accessible for all Californians, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status or place of residence. Following extensive public outreach, as well as racial equity and environmental justice training, Commission staff initiated a three-phase approach to integrate the principles of environmental, racial, and social equity throughout the agency.

The three-phase approach includes an environmental justice policy, a racial equity plan, and an ongoing five-year strategic plan, of which the environmental justice policy is the leading effort. The environmental justice policy will guide the Commission to make even better, stronger decisions that protect coastal resources in an equitable manner. It is not meant to be a rigid list of pre-determined responses to every type of development issue, but rather a framework for identifying and analyzing project impacts on underserved and disadvantaged communities. The policy is meant to achieve more meaningful engagement, equitable process, effective communication, and stronger coastal protection benefits for all Californians.

Staff Team



  • Sarah Christie

    1121 L St, #503
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Phone: (916) 445-6067
    Fax: (916) 327-2533

North Coast

  • Melissa Kraemer
    Cristin Kenyon

    1385 Eighth Street, Suite 130
    Arcata, CA 95521

    Phone: (707) 826-8950
    Fax: (415) 904-5400

    Counties: Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino

North Central Coast

  • Patrick Foster

    45 Fremont St, Suite 2000
    San Francisco, CA 94105-2219

    Phone: (415) 904-5200
    Fax: (415) 904-5400

    Counties: Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco, San Mateo

Central Coast

  • Kevin Kahn

    725 Front Street, Suite 300
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060

    Phone: (831) 427-4863
    Fax: (831) 427-4877

    Counties: Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo

South Central Coast

  • Denise Venegas

    89 S. California Street #200
    Ventura, CA 93001

    Phone: (805) 585-1800
    Fax: (805) 641-1732

    Counties: Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles

South Coast

  • Noaki Schwartz
    Jordan Sanchez

    200 Oceangate, Suite 1000
    Long Beach, CA 90802-4302

    Phone: (562) 590-5071
    Fax: (562) 590-5084

    Counties: Los Angeles, Orange

San Diego Coast

  • Melody Lasiter
    Marsha Venegas

    7575 Metropolitan Drive, Suite 103
    San Diego, CA 92108-4321

    Phone: (619) 767-2370
    Fax: (619) 767-2384

    Counties: San Diego

Tribal Consultation Policy

The Tribal Consultation Policy is a separate and distinct policy and process than the draft Environmental Justice Policy. More information about the Tribal Consultation Policy can be found here.