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Map Tool Flags Environmental Issues

Monday, June 15, 2015

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WASHINGTON—A new environmental justice screening and mapping tool can now help developers, governments and project managers better understand the environmental demands and risks of their next project.

EJSCREEN, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, uses high-resolution maps combined with demographic and environmental data to identify places with potentially elevated environmental burdens and vulnerable populations.

The system's color-coded maps, bar charts, and reports "enable users to better understand areas in need of increased environmental protection, health care access, housing, infrastructure improvement, community revitalization, and climate resilience," EPA said in releasing the tool Wednesday (June 10).

EJSCREEN
U.S. EPA

EJSCREEN calculates pollution risks for specific areas using eight pollution and environmental indicators, including traffic proximity, particulate matter, and proximity to Superfund sites.

EPA had already developed and was using the tool, but is now releasing it to the public, officials said.

Gauging Impact

“EJSCREEN provides essential information to anyone seeking greater visibility and awareness about the impacts of pollution in American communities,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Sharing the tool with the public will "broaden its impact, build transparency, and foster collaboration with partners working to achieve environmental justice," McCarthy said.

The tool has the potential to facilitate "vital citizen engagement," said Dick Pedersen, director of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality and past president of the Environmental Council of States.

“Citizens having access to environmental and demographic data is extremely important in helping states implement environmental programs and ensure public health and environmental protection for all."

Who Benefits

EPA says EJSCREEN can help governments, academic institutions, local communities, and other stakeholders highlight communities with greater risk of exposure to pollution.

The risk is calculated using eight pollution and environmental indicators, including traffic proximity, particulate matter, and proximity to Superfund sites. These indicators are combined with demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community 5-year Summary Survey.

The result allows users to identify areas with minority or low-income populations who also face potential pollution issues.

EPA will collect user feedback on the tool for six months and release a revised version in 2016.

More information: http://www2.epa.gov/ejscreen.

   

Tagged categories: Air pollution control; Developers; Environmental Protection; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Government; Health and safety; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management

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