A powerful new mapping tool for environmental justice
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and a team at Colorado State University are working on an enhanced environmental health screening tool for Colorado. This interactive mapping tool is called CO EnviroScreen.
The tool will enable users to identify disproportionately impacted (DI) communities based on the definition in Colorado’s Environmental Justice Act (HB21-1266). CO EnviroScreen will be one way Colorado addresses current and historic inequities.
The mapping tool aims to:
- Pinpoint areas that have a disproportionate burden of health and/or environmental harm.
- Build public trust and empower communities to become involved in decision-making.
- Help users maximize funding and resources for policy changes and other interventions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate environmental health risks.
- Advance a healthy and sustainable Colorado where everyone has the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards.
Driven by community
Environmental justice requires meaningful engagement with communities that are impacted by environmental policies. It also requires government agencies to take community input to heart and make changes based on that input.
The CO EnviroScreen team interviewed stakeholders, held focus groups, and hosted a large community meeting in August and September. The next stage of community engagement will begin in January, with pilot testing of the tool. In the meantime, we still want to hear from you! You can sign up for updates and provide feedback or email it directly to email@example.com.
Community engagement for CO EnviroScreen prioritizes DI communities across Colorado that have known or suspected disproportionate health risks from cumulative environmental exposures. These communities include Commerce City-North Denver, southeast Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Greeley, the San Luis Valley, and the Four Corners region. Federal, state, local, and tribal governments, environmental justice organizations, community organizations, and businesses also are providing input.
We’re committed to using what we learn to improve CO EnviroScreen, in the development and testing phases and beyond. By listening to people’s lived experiences and tapping into community expertise, we can ensure CO EnviroScreen is a trusted tool that reflects the needs of the people and organizations it is intended to benefit.
CO EnviroScreen timeline
August - September 2021
Gather community and stakeholder input.
October - December 2021
Develop the tool based on community and stakeholder input.
January - March 2022
Engage community members and key stakeholders in testing the tool.
April - June 2022
Incorporate community and stakeholder feedback.
Launch CO EnviroScreen.
Interim environmental justice mapping tool
The Environmental Justice Act (HB21-1266) defines "disproportionately impacted communities" as:
- "A census block group . . . where the proportion of households that are low income is greater than 40%, the proportion of households that identify as minority is greater than 40%, or the proportion of households that are housing cost-burdened is greater than 40%."
- Communities with "a history of environmental racism perpetuated through redlining, anti-indigenous, anti-immigrant, anti-hispanic, or anti-black laws."
- Communities "where multiple factors, including socioeconomic stressors, disproportionate environmental burdens, vulnerability to environmental degradation, and lack of public participation, may act cumulatively to affect health and the environment and contribute to persistent health disparities."
CO EnviroScreen will include the full range of communities covered by the definition and help identify communities “where multiple factors, including socioeconomic stressors, disproportionate environmental burdens, vulnerability to environmental degradation, and lack of public participation, may act cumulatively to affect health and the environment and contribute to persistent health disparities.”
Until CO EnviroScreen is finalized, you can use the Draft Data Viewer for Disproportionately Impacted Communities in Colorado, linked above, to identify census block groups that meet one or more of the demographic criteria (low-income communities, communities of color, and housing cost-burdened communities) in the Environmental Justice Act’s definition. This is an interim tool that CDPHE will use in 2021 and 2022 while CO EnviroScreen, which will consider the broader components of the definition, is being developed.
CDPHE welcomes your feedback on this draft map. Please send feedback to Joel Minor, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Oct. 31, 2021. CDPHE will incorporate feedback related to the data in this map into the final version of the map. We will relay feedback related to the statutory definition of Disproportionately Impacted Community to the Environmental Justice Action Task Force, which is directed by the Environmental Justice Act to recommend any necessary changes to the definition of disproportionately impacted communities.
CO EnviroScreen will replace this interim tool when it is finalized. It will be a one-stop mapping tool that includes the Environmental Justice Act’s full definition of disproportionately impacted communities. CO EnviroScreen also will improve upon and replace the department's current environmental justice mapping tool, the Climate Equity Data Viewer.