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Approaches to Assessing Environmental Justice: Perspectives from the Scientific, Regulatory and Regulated Communities

Sunday, December 4, 2022 with Uni Blake, Anna White, Valerie Washington, Amina Wilkins and Jacqueline Gibson (8:30AM-5:30PM)

The environmental justice (EJ) movement arose from community concerns surrounding how people of color and/or low-socioeconomic status have borne the disproportionate impacts of environmental hazards, contributing to disease and health disparities. Risk assessors, risk modelers, and regulatory analysts are tasked with addressing these concerns and finding solutions to address environmental injustice. This workshop explores how the regulators, the scientific community, and the regulated community navigate the complex EJ landscape. The objective of the workshops is to provide practical tools and methods to better equip attendees to implement EJ analysis within their risk assessment, modeling, and regulatory analysis workflows.    

This workshop will present a series of three learning modules, each module covering approaches from communities charged with responding to environmental justice:

  • Module 1: Regulators: Introduction to EJ Tools used by Agencies to identify EJ Communities and support cumulative impact assessments (Instructor – Ann Verwiel)
    • This module will review on-line tools available 
      • Federal tools such as EJScreen and the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) will be presented and others (e.g., CDC Places and EnviroAtlas)
      • Variations at the state level will be presented
    • We will compare these tools to demonstrate which tools can address specific situations
    • We will develop a hypothetical case study to be completed during the workshop to show how these tools can be used.
  • Module 2: Available Science and Tools for Assessing Cumulative Impacts: Case Studies (Instructors Bill Rish and Ann Verwiel)
    • This module will present several actual case studies where cumulative impact assessment was applied to decisions in communities with EJ concerns
    • We will discuss chemical and non-chemical stressors that were prioritized by the communities, how they measured them, and how they used these in the decisions
    • The audience will be engaged in a discussion of the effectiveness and completeness of the case studies, both from the perspective of cumulative impact science and public policy
  • Module 3: Regulated Community: Practical Solutions to Identifying Inequities and Responding to EJ Policy (Instructor: Rich Hamel)
    • This module would work through a case study with the audience, using both EJSCREEN and CEJST. Attendees would review and set up a case study of a site to understand the tool’s concepts:  
      • What is considered overburdened? 
      • What are EJ indexes and how they are triggered?
      • Compare the difference between the two tools.