Seattle Public Utilities

What is Environmental Justice?

We practice environmental justice when we are fair and equitable in how we spread the risks and the benefits of actions that affect the health of people and the environment. Environmental justice comes from Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI states “Public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races contribute, shall not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial discrimination.”

We recognize that factors such as race, income, and language can have a lot to do with disparate impacts. SPU must consider these factors across communities when we make decisions about risks and benefits.

SPU has committed to working with communities to understand what they need and what is important to them. Outreach must go beyond informing. This can mean that we share decision-making power, or that communities help shape how we design and develop our projects.