An Introduction to

EJSCREEN for Climate
Justice Application
Christian Braneon, PhD, EIT
Physical Scientist

1

Outline
♦ Climate Change and Extreme Weather
♦ Climate Change Impacts on Public Health
♦ Brief Overview of Climate Justice
♦ Introduction to EJSCREEN
♦ City of Dallas Case Study
♦ Group Reports and Discussion
♦ Caveats, Conclusions and Q&A
2

Climate Change and Extreme Weather
♦ Shift in distribution of
cold and hot weather
♦ Climate change will result
in more heat waves in the
United States
♦ If current emissions hold
steady, excess heatrelated deaths could
climb

3

Climate Change and Extreme Weather

4

5

Urban Heat Island Effect

6

Climate Change Impacts on Public Health

7

Climate Change Impacts on Public Health (2)

8

Climate Change Impacts on Public Health (3)

9

Climate Change Impacts on Public Health (4)

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EJSCREEN Background
♦ EPA’s new tool for EJ screening and mapping
♦ Web-based GIS tool and data for EPA and the
public
♦ Plan EJ 2014 announced EPA’s plan to create
a new, nationally consistent EJ screening tool
♦ Builds upon NEJAC report on EJ screening,
and prior work across EPA programs and
Regions
♦ Incorporates comments from peer letter
reviews by experts on geospatial tools and
EJ
♦ Input from Regions
♦ Build upon previous EJ screening tools (e.g. 11

Key Features
♦ 12 different environmental factors
♦ Updated demographics ACS– every 1
year, not every 10 years
♦ A consistent, quantified approach to EJ
♦ Accessible and transparent to anyone
with a web browser -> http
://www2.epa.gov/ejscreen

♦ Standard printable reports and bar
graphs
♦ Block groups rather than census tracts
or counties.
♦ A wealth of additional data maps; can
add more from the Web

12

Using EJSCREEN
♦ Available to all EJ stakeholders and general
public – but no requirement that
state/tribal/stakeholders use it
♦ Place to start - basis for further dialogue
♦ Show which places may be candidates for
further review – where to take a closer look,
♦ Wealth of additional data maps & can add
more from the Web
♦ Raw data downloads are also available
♦ It shows how much a block group contributes
to the nation’s overall disparity (between
demographic groups) in that environmental 13

US Census Categories
State
Counties
Census Tracts
Block Groups
Blocks

1-14

Current Environmental Indicators
(1) PM 2.5

Indicators of
Potential Exposure

(2) Ozone
(3) Diesel Particulate Matter
(4) Lead Paint Indicator

(5) NATA Air Toxics Cancer Risk

Indicators of Hazard (6) NATA Respiratory Hazard Index
/ Risk

(7) NATA Neurological Hazard Index
(8) Traffic Proximity

Indicators of
Proximity
NATA = National Air Toxics Assessment

(9) Proximity to Natl. Priority List (NPL)
Sites
(10) Proximity to Toxic Storage Disposal
(TSD) Sites
(11) Proximity to Risk Management Plan

1-15

Demographic Indicators
(1) Percent Minority Population

Demographic
Index

(2) Percent Low Income

(3) Linguistically Isolated
Additional Indicators

(4) Less than high school education
(5) Under age 5 years
(6) Over age 64 years

1-16

Combines Environmental & Demographic
data
EJ Primary Index (for each environmental
Indicator – e.g. Ozone)
Environmental Indicator
(e.g. Ozone)

=

Proxy/ Predictor for
Exposure/
Env. Burden

+

+
Demographic Index
(% Minority, % Income)

Proxy/ Predictor for
Health Status /Potential
Vulnerability

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Considerations and Limitations for Using
EJSCREEN
♦ EJSCREEN CANNOT be used as:
» A way to label an area as an “EJ community” or
“EJ area”
» A risk assessment
» The basis for EPA decision-making (it is “predecisional”)

18

Dallas Case Study
♦ Developed population and
water demand forecasts
♦ Evaluated current and
future water supply from
existing sources
♦ First time the City of
Dallas considered climate
change in their water
planning process
♦ Projected the increase in
evaporation from
reservoirs due to
temperature
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Dallas Case Study (2)

?

20

Dallas Case Study (2)
♦ Spatially and
temporally
downscaled
temperature

Global Climate Models (GCMs)

♦ 1/8 degree daily max.
temperature data
aggregated for Dallas
area
♦ Multi-model mean
utilized

21

Dallas Case Study (3)
♦ Rapid population
growth peaking
around 2050
♦ Balance between
fossil and nonfossil energy
sources
♦ Considered
“middle of the
road” scenario

22

Dallas Case Study (4) – Group Activity with
EJSCREEN

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Caveats
♦ Uncertainty - with the American
Community Survey (ACS) demographic data
from census are estimates from surveys at
the block group level.
♦ Proxy Measures - Environmental indicators
(for actual exposure) & demographic
indicators (health status & vulnerability).
♦ Available data - Some indicators may be
outdated – conditions change (e.g. most
recent NATA data – 2005)
♦ Environmental Issues - It does not cover
all environmental issues.
♦ Other data/information - Local data and 24

Conclusions
♦ We are already experiencing climate
change
♦ There are a variety of health impacts
associated with a changing climate
♦ Vulnerable and overburdened
communities are particularly at risk to
extreme heat now and in the future
♦ EJSCREEN is a free, user-friendly tool
that can support climate justice
screening

25

Thank you….
Questions?
http://www2.epa.gov/ejscreen
Christian Braneon
US EPA, Region 4
Office of Environmental Justice and
Sustainability
Braneon.Christian@epa.gov
404-562-9608
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APPENDIX

1-27

Important Notes About How EPA Uses
EJSCREEN
♦ Tool and data to be shared with State/Tribal,
public, etc.
♦ Highlights areas that may be candidates for
further review
♦ Pre-decisional screening tool
♦ Baseline screening should be supplemented
with local information and experience
♦ Should not be used to label areas as “EJ
community”
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Environmental and Demographic Indicators

29

Table of the 12 EJ Indexes

Traffic
Traffic
Proximity
Proximity
and
and
Volume
Volume

30

Bar Graphs

31

Maps of Selected Area of Interest

• 1 mile radius is
usually reasonable
and useful.
• <0.5 miles has much
higher uncertainty.
• >5 miles is generally
too far.
• >50 square miles
generally won’t work.
1
1 mile
mile
Buffer
Buffer
Ring
Ring

32

Caveats
♦ Uncertainty - with the American
Community Survey (ACS) demographic data
from census are estimates from surveys at
the block group level.
♦ Proxy Measures - Environmental indicators
(for actual exposure) & demographic
indicators (health status & vulnerability).
♦ Available data - Some indicators may be
outdated – conditions change (e.g. most
recent NATA data – 2005)
♦ Environmental Issues - It does not cover
all environmental issues.
♦ Other data/information - Local data and 33

What’s Happening Now?
♦ Updates to Demographic and
Environmental Indicators
♦ July – October 2015 - Collected feedback
from users on ways to improve and
enhance the tool and website
» More in-depth conversation or engagement, email to olp.kevin@epa.gov

♦ October – December 2015 – Review
feedback and begin development of
updated version of the tool
♦ 2016 – Release updated version to the
public
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