EPA releases web-based environmental justice mapping tool

The Wisconsin Gazette

The EPA this month released EJSCREEN, a web-based environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides information communities need to assess environmental and health problems and disparities.

EJSCREEN provides high resolution maps showing nationally-based demographic and environmental information that helps the user understand potential environmental justice issues in a particular area.

EJSCREEN only includes data available on a national scale but, according to the group Earthjustice, is an important first step in identifying and assisting communities overburdened with pollution.

People can access the tool through EPA’s website, www2.epa.gov/EJSCREEN.

Earthjustice, in a statement, said urged the EPA to strengthen the tools available to provide information and assess the health impacts and disparities of pollution and environmental problems at the community level.

EPA first committed to create a national environmental justice screening tool as part of its Plan EJ 2014, the environmental justice strategic plan created by former administrator Lisa Jackson. 

Earlier this year, together with over 40 community groups from around the United States, Earthjustice submitted a letter to the administrator emphasizing the importance of releasing EJSCREEN for public input and use as soon as possible.

Earthjustice legislative counsel Stephanie Maddin said, “We are delighted to see that EPA has released the first-ever national screening tool for environmental justice. We know that too many communities in the United States, particularly communities of color and low-income communities, face extra, harmful pollution from sources like oil refineries, and EJSCREEN will help shine important light on this unfairness.”