Colorado EnviroScreen: an environmental justice mapping tool

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Background Information

Environmental justice is a growing priority in the state of Colorado. The Colorado Environmental Justice Act defines disproportionately impacted communities and directs state efforts to address environmental justice. The Colorado EnviroScreen tool supports the Environmental Justice Act by identifying communities affected by cumulative environmental burdens, otherwise known as disproportionately impacted communities. The tool incorporates data related to environmental exposures, climate impacts, health outcomes, and demographics to paint a holistic picture of environmental justice throughout the state. 

What was CO Tracking’s role?

Colorado Tracking played a pivotal role in the development in Colorado EnviroScreen. In addition to reviewing the initial applications and providing financial support for the project's community engagement efforts, Colorado Tracking provided project management, data support through data acquisition and data wrangling, and provided subject matter expertise in epidemiology, environmental health, and toxicology. Since the product launch in June 2022,  Colorado Tracking has provided ongoing support through technical assistance, trainings, and presentations. 

What product or output came from CO Tracking’s role?

Colorado EnviroScreen is a free public mapping and screening online tool, available in English and Spanish. Colorado EnviroScreen aims to support environmental justice activities among government entities, industry, community organizations, and residents in the state of Colorado. The tool provides a map of the state of Colorado that is subdivided into three geographical scales: county, census tract, and census block groups. 

Colorado EnviroScreen maps secondary data (data already collected and made available by other organizations) from 35 demographic, social, health, and environmental indicators at the three geographical scales. The tool also provides an overall composite indicator, Colorado EnviroScreen Score, combining the 35 indicators.

What action or decision was taken to resolve the problem?

On March 8, 2022, U.S. EPA Region 8 (EPA) and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Advancing Environmental Justice through Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in Disproportionately Impacted Communities. Colorado EnviroScreen is the proposed method to identify disproportionately impacted communities in the MOU's draft work plan. 

The CDPHE Safe Drinking Water program has also utilized Colorado EnviroScreen to prioritize public water system inspections in communities affected by environmental injustice.