CalEPA updates “national gold standard” geospatial tools for equitable environmental decision-making

From CalEPA, October 13, 2021

“Since its initial release in 2013, CalEnviroScreen has helped state, regional, and local policymakers prioritize activities and funding to assist communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution. CalEnviroScreen is used to aid in administering environmental justice grants, promote compliance with environmental laws, prioritize site-cleanup activities, and identify opportunities for sustainable development.

“Areas identified by CalEPA as ‘disadvantaged communities’ based on CalEnviroScreen scores are eligible for a significant share of the California Climate Investments from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and other benefits from specific Climate Investment programs.

“The new CalEnviroScreen version 4.0 analyzes the latest data from 21 indicators of environmental, public health, and socioeconomic conditions in California’s 8,000 census tracts…The latest version also features a new indicator on children’s exposure to lead from housing.

“The update also uses more localized air pollution data, as explained in OEHHA’s ‘Summary of Changes in CalEnviroScreen Version 4.0.’

“A website mapping tool that allows the public to explore CalEnviroScreen results by indicator or by individual census tract is available on OEHHA’s CalEnviroScreen 4.0 webpage.

“A supplemental analysis accompanying the CalEnviroScreen findings, ‘Analysis of Race/Ethnicity and CalEnviroScreen 4.0 Scores,’ shows the dramatic differences in the racial composition of the state’s census tracts depending on their pollution burdens and vulnerabilities. The analysis found that the population of the top 10 percent of neighborhoods with the highest pollution burdens and vulnerabilities consist of 91 percent people of color, while the population of the 10 percent of neighborhoods with the lowest pollution burdens and vulnerabilities is 67 percent white.”

Read the full press release here. (~3 min.)

Read the full report here, including maps of pollutants impacting Bay Area counties.

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