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 - Not yet started

Phase 5
Commission considers draft policy

Status - Not yet started


Staff is currently reaching out to environmental justice groups throughout the state to talk with stakeholders and gather input on what we should include in our new policy. If you have not been contacted and are interested in providing input, please email EnvironmentalJustice@coastal.ca.gov or call an staff member on the environmental justice team closest to your area (staff team members are listed in the right panel).

Environmental Justice Introduction Webinar

This webinar introduces the Coastal Commission, the scope of our work and how environmental justice can apply to the Commission’s decisions

Tribal Consultation Policy

Commission staff are currently developing a Tribal Consultation Policy with input from Tribal members. This is a separate and distinct effort at our agency than the development of the Environmental Justice Policy. The Tribal Consultation Policy acknowledges the unique status and history of tribes, and requires more proactive timely and meaningful notification, consideration and discussion with tribes on actions that may impact tribal lands and other tribal interests. For more information about the Tribal Consultation Policy development, please contact Mark Delaplaine at (415) 904-5289 or Mark.Delaplaine@coastal.ca.gov.


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/Central Coastt
Sonoma, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey

South Central Coast
San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura

South Coast
Los Angeles, Orange

San Diego Coast
San Diego