Department of Public Health and CSU partnering on environmental justice tool

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STATEWIDE – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and a team from Colorado State University are gathering data for a brand new environmental justice mapping tool, CO EnviroScreen.

The team is inviting all Coloradans, especially people who live in communities disproportionately impacted by environmental health risks, to join a virtual community meeting from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 20. The meeting is intended to understand what topics are most important within the community.

To register for the meeting, click here.

“Taking action on environmental justice requires identifying low-income communities and communities of color that are impacted by many different sources of pollution,” said Joel Minor, environmental justice program manager at CDPHE. “But we can’t do that unless we put lived experience and community expertise front and center as we create this essential tool.”

CO EnviroScreen will enable users to identify disproportionately impacted communities based on the definition in Colorado’s Environmental Justice Act. Its fundamental goal is to help users maximize funding and resources for interventions to avoid, reduce, and repair environmental harms.

The act includes low-income communities, communities of color, and housing cost-burdened communities. Until CO EnviroScreen is finished, individuals interested can use a new draft map layer in the updated Climate Equity Data Viewer to identify census block groups that meet those three criteria.

CO EnviroScreen will be replacing the Climate Equity Data Viewer when it’s complete in summer of 2022, having built on the foundation that the original tool had laid.

“We want to do our best to ensure CO EnviroScreen becomes a trusted resource to address environmental injustices in Colorado,” said Josie Plaut, project lead for the CSU team. “We’re committed to using what we learn in our community sessions to shape and improve CO EnviroScreen, both in the development phase and beyond.”

CSU’s Institute for the Built Environment and Geospatial Centroid are bringing a lot of experience in engaging Colorado’s marginalized communities and work with stakeholders, as well as technical expertise.

To learn more about the project, click here. on the department’s CO EnviroScreen web page.

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