On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) announced the second update of EJSCREEN 2.1, an environmental justice (EJ) mapping and screening tool. EPA uses this tool to identify areas of potential high environmental impact and inform multiple agency functions such as permitting, enforcement, outreach and compliance. This is his fourth launch or renewal by the Biden administration this year, following the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Environmental Justice Index (EJI), the EPA’s EJSCREEN 2.0, and the White House Climate and Economic Justice. is his EJ mapping or screening tool. tool.
EJSCREEN 2.0, the first update to EPA’s tool, added new indicators, including environmental indicators for underground storage tanks. A socio-economic indicator of unemployment. Health indicators based on life expectancy, asthma, and heart disease based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Indicators of ‘significant service gaps’ such as food deserts, underserved areas of healthcare, and areas with limited broadband internet access. Climate change indicators including data on drought, sea level rise and wildfires.
EPA’s EJSCREEN 2.1 includes new data and features expected by the EPA to improve screening tools and make them “more transparent and predictable.” Other additions:
- EPA integrates the latest demographic data from the 2016-20 American Community Survey.
- Updated tools include environmental, demographic, and index data for US territories, including the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
- This update also has a mapping feature that allows users to see multiple EJ indices simultaneously, and the EPA report provides a “cumulative” view of the EJ community’s burden.
EPA’s launch of EJSCREEN 2.1 follows DHHS’ launch of EJI on August 10, 2022. This is a new mapping tool, also reported by DHHS, that can measure the cumulative impact of environmental loads. EJI provides one his EJ score per census block. This is the first nationwide, location-based tool that DHHS says can be used to identify at-risk communities.