Environmental Justice Banner

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.

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Effie Turnbull-Sanders Picture

Effie Turnbull-Sanders

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

Staff Team

Coastal Commission Environmental Justice Policy

September Highlight Image

In 2019, the Coastal Commission unanimously adopted its first environmental justice policy to provide guidance for Commissioners, staff, and the public on how the Commission will implement its environmental justice authority and integrate the principles of environmental justice, equality, and social equity into all aspects of the Commission’s program and operations.

For additional information about the policy adoption, read the press release or watch the recording of the Commission meeting.

Environmental Justice Policy Story Map

Environmental Justice Year in Review

The Coastal Commission adopted its Environmental Justice Policy and implementation actions in March 2019. Over the last year, the Commission has made progress on a number of actions, which are highlighted in its first Environmental Justice Year in Review for 2020 and the implementation update.

Highlights from 2020

Highlights from 2019

Want to stay updated with our work?

Resources – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Sheets

EJ Ports FAQ Image

EJ Ports FAQ

belmont aquatic FAQ Image

FAQ: Belmont Aquatic Complex

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FAQs Image

FAQ: EJ Policy Development

Doheny Desalination Project

FAQ: Doheny Desalination Project

Cal-Am Desalination Facility

FAQ: Cal-Am Desalination Facility

Environmental Justice Resources for Educators and Students

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Learn about the concept and history of environmental justice and access videos and classroom lessons for middle and high school students.


Upcoming Events

Past Events

  • October 21, 2019 Webinar

    • Staff recorded an informational webinar on Monday, October 21, 2019. The webinar covered an in-depth review of the Commission’s Environmental Justice Policy and how staff has been implementing it in their permitting and planning work. Staff answer questions from the audience at the end. Link to Webinar Recording


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

  • Bente Jansen

    1385 Eighth Street, Suite 130
    Arcata, CA 95521

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

    Counties: Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino

North Central Coast

  • Erik Martinez

    455 Market Street, Suite 300
    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

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.