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 developing an environmental justice policy to guide how the agency can implement this new authority and to help the Commission make even better, stronger decisions that protect coastal resources in ways that also benefit underserved communities. For more information about the environmental justice work at the Coastal Commission, please email EnvironmentalJustice@coastal.ca.gov or contact Noaki Schwartz at (562) 833-5487.

Work Plan

  • Phase 1: Agency staff & leadership training

    Status - Ongoing

    January 2018- Staff participating in GARE Capital Cohort
    The Commission sponsored about 20 staff members across agency departments -- from administrative to top management -- to participate in a year-long training in Sacramento focused on advancing racial equity at state agencies. Through the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, the Commission’s team will benefit from 50 hours of training and an additional speaker series. The purpose of this training is for participants to develop an action plan to help state government become more effective and inclusive democracies.

    September 2017 - Staff Team received environmental justice training in Sacramento from Cal EPA, CalRecycle and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

  • Phase 2: Webinar introduction to public

    Status - Completed October 2017

  • Phase 3: Statewide outreach

    Status - Ongoing

    Staff team is currently reaching out to stakeholders throughout the state for input on what to include in the draft environmental justice policy. Please contact any staff team member in your region, listed on the right panel, if you are interested in providing input for the draft policy.

  • Phase 4: Integrating feedback into draft policy

    Status - Ongoing

    May - June 2018 - Staff team is synthesizing feedback from stakeholder meetings that have been conducted to-date to include in the new draft policy.

  • Phase 5: Commission considers draft policy

    Status - Not yet started


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.

Environmental Justice Policy – Public Review Draft

A new public draft of the Commission’s Environmental Justice Policy accompanied with a staff memo is now available for public review:

Public comment will be open for 90 calendar days until November 7th, 2018. Please send public comments to the following:

Public engagement timeline – coming soon

Staff plans to do targeted outreach and engagement with environmental justice communities and stakeholders throughout the state. Please check back for updates.


Upcoming Events

  • September 2018 Commission Hearing
    • The Commission will hold an initial hearing and take public testimony at the September 2018 meeting.
  • Fall 2018 Environmental Justice Community Roundtable
    • Another roundtable with State Lands Commission will be held and details will be posted as they become available.


Effie Turnbull-Sanders
Vice Chair

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

Staff Team


North Coast
Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino

North Central Coast
Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo

Central Coast
Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo

South Central Coast
Santa Barbara, Ventura

South Coast
Los Angeles, Orange

San Diego Coast
San Diego