Environmental Justice


Environmental justice is defined as equal and fair access to a healthy environment, protecting underrepresented and poorer communities from disproportionate environmental impacts. The SCAG region is demographically and economically diverse, with extremes in household income and public health outcomes caused by numerous social, economic and geographic factors. The region includes heavily urban and entirely rural areas, each with their own unique environmental risks, as well as terrain that creates obstacles for achieving environmental goals, such as air quality improvements.

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) pursues environmental justice by implementing improved planning practices and meeting the federal and state requirements. Tracing roots back to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the environmental justice movement in the United States responds to discriminatory environmental practices, including toxic dumping, municipal waste facility siting and land use and transportation decisions that negatively affected communities of color. Several grassroots organizations founded during the early days of this movement in the SCAG region continue to advocate for a cleaner environment to protect all communities.

The federal government defines environmental justice (EJ) as “the just treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of income, race, color, national origin, Tribal affiliation, or disability, in agency decision-making and other Federal activities that affect human health and the environment so that people: (i) are fully protected from disproportionate and adverse human health and environmental effects (including risks) and hazards, including those related to climate change, the cumulative impacts of environmental and other burdens, and the legacy of racism or other structural or systemic barriers; and (ii) have equitable access to a healthy, sustainable, and resilient environment in which to live, play, work, learn, grow, worship, and engage in cultural and subsistence practices.” (Executive Order 14096) 

SCAG’s ongoing equity efforts directly inform and intersect with the environmental justice program. For more information on SCAG’s equity efforts, visit the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Awareness (IDEA) webpage.


Help us keep our contact information updated. If you have any questions, or comments, please contact:

Ms. Anita Au
(213) 236-1874

Ms. Annaleigh Ekman 
(213) 630-1427 

    Current Information

    Every four years, SCAG updates its visionary plan for the future of the region, Connect SoCal. The strategies outlined in this plan affect how everyone in Southern California lives, works and plays. For information and updates for Connect SoCal, including the environmental justice analysis documented in the Equity Analysis Technical Report where environmental justice analysis is included, please visit: https://scag.ca.gov/connect-socal

    The currently adopted Connect SoCal 2020, including the Environmental Justice Technical Report, is available here: https://scag.ca.gov/read-plan-adopted-final-connect-socal-2020


    Past Projects

    Resources & Links

    Policies and Guidance



    Climate Equity Compendium

    The Climate Equity Compendium provides resources for local planners in the SCAG region to advocate for and implement equitable and actionable solutions for their jurisdictions’ climate adaptation efforts. SCAG developed the Compendium in partnership with more than 60 local jurisdictions, focusing on the major concerns of climate adaptation for local agencies: providing resources to assist with staff and funding shortages, removing barriers to relevant data and resources and overcoming the challenges of effective, equitable outreach. SCAG will continue to update the Climate Equity Compendium as the challenges of climate equity evolve. 

    Read the Climate Equity Compendium


    Equity Working Group (EWG)

    As part of the Regional Planning Working Groups (RPWG), SCAG launched a Equity Working Group (EWG) in June 2021, combining the former Environmental Justice and Public Health Working Groups. The purpose of the EWG is to engage stakeholders regarding SCAG’s regional and local planning activities and share efforts across the region to eliminate racial bias and barriers in land use and transportation planning. The EWG also highlights national best practices. Discussions focus on equity-related plans, programs, projects, tools, resources, and best practices. Because equity is intersectional, the EWG addresses multiple planning areas, including environmental justice (EJ), public health, and other related fields.

    EWG meetings are typically held quarterly. To be notified about resources and upcoming meetings, subscribe to updates for the Equity Working Group.

    Agendas and presentations for all RPWGs can be found on the RPWG webpage. A summary of topics covered by the EWG since June 2021 is available here: Equity Working Group History.

    For more information, please contact Anita Au at environmentaljustice@scag.ca.gov.