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WASHINGTON (Oct. 11, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated and added new capabilities to EJScreen, the Agency’s public environmental justice (EJ) screening and mapping tool. EJScreen combines environmental and socioeconomic information to identify areas overburdened by pollution. EJScreen 2.1 includes the addition of new data on US territories, threshold maps which provides a cumulative outlook, and supplemental indexes providing additional socioeconomic information.  

“EPA’s EJScreen supports the Agency’s work to deliver environmental justice and equips underserved and overburdened communities with the right tools to understand and meaningfully engage in human health and environmental protection,” said Marianne Engelman-Lado, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights. “The addition of data covering US territories and our new threshold maps will greatly enhance the use of EJScreen not just at EPA, but across the country.”

In response to community feedback to expand the tool’s reach, EJScreen 2.1 now includes environmental, demographic, and index data for the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Although EPA does not have the full set of data for territories that are available for the fifty states, the inclusion of all currently available data for these territories is an important step forward in pushing for complete inclusion of all US communities in the tool.

EPA has also created a set of “supplemental indexes” as an additional method to highlight vulnerable populations that may be disproportionately impacted by pollution. The supplemental indexes use the same methodology and calculation as the EJ Indexes but incorporate a new five-factor supplemental demographic index. The five socioeconomic indicators considered are percent low-income, percent limited English-speaking, percent less than high school education, percent unemployed, and low life expectancy. While EPA will continue to primarily rely on the EJ indexes, which use an average of percent low income and percent people of color, the supplemental indexes can provide an additional perspective on potential community vulnerability and may be more relevant for use in certain situations such as awarding grants.

Additionally, EPA has included threshold maps with the release of EJScreen 2.1. The threshold maps allow EJScreen users to look across all twelve indexes at once, providing a cumulative outlook on vulnerable populations facing higher pollution burdens. Threshold maps are available for both the EJ indexes and the supplemental indexes and are available for comparison at the national and state level, offering users the capability to take a broader view of the indexes to help highlight areas that may warrant additional consideration, analysis, or outreach. EJScreen 2.1 also features the newest available 2016 – 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) data and new layers.

Together these enhancements will enable EJScreen users to better identify potentially susceptible populations facing higher pollution burdens and make the tool more transparent and predictable. To assist users with EJScreen 2.1, EPA will provide trainings and opportunities for engagement on the new data and changes to the tool.

Read more information about upcoming trainings or engagement opportunities.

Read more information on EJScreen 2.1.

Read more information about environmental justice.

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