Feedback Sought for New Online Climate and Economic Justice Tool

The White House Council on Environmental Quality has launched the beta version of a Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. Using publicly-available datasets about a range of subjects: socioeconomic, environmental, health and climate, the tool identifies disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

For example, Census tract 18097351000 includes parts of Crown Hill neighborhood, Meridian Park and Mapleton Fall Creek, (see image above.) It features a population of 2554 and was identified as “Disadvantaged” because seven of the 21 thresholds were exceeded. Data for the area indicates low income, high energy costs, low incidence of higher ed enrollment; large amount of diesel exhaust in the area, high levels of lead paint exposure, proximity to National Priorities List (Superfund) sites within 5 kilometers; high rates of asthma and diabetes and reduced life expectancy.

The data generated by the tool will be used by the Justice40 Initiative which seeks to allocate 40 percent of a range of Federal funds to disadvantaged communities in seven areas: climate change, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and the development of critical clean water infrastructure. The beta site includes user comment opportunities and a survey that will help fine-tune and improve the tool. The public comment period will last 60 days. The Justice40 Initiative was launched January 27, 2021 by President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.