New Tool to Identify Environmental Justice Communities

14 Jan

We know that the burden of pollution is not distributed equally throughout California. People who live in low-income and minority communities are exposed to higher concentrations of pollutants and experience more health problems as a result.  In recent years various tools have been developed to identify the most ill-affected communities.

The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) just released the latest draft of the California Community Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen), a new resource that identifies the most burdened and vulnerable communities throughout the state. CalEnviroScreen quantifies a community’s pollution burden and considers its population characteristics to produce a weighted score. The scores are translated to maps that illustrate the relative burden that each community bears. CalEnviroScreen will be used as a tool to help the state to direct a portion of its cap-and-trade revenue to communities in need of economic and environmental health benefits.

If you want to put in your two cents, OEHHA will be accepting comments on the CalEnviroScreen tool through January 25, 2013.

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