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CO - Colorado launches environmental justice tool developed by three CSU organizations

This week marks the launch of Colorado EnviroScreen, the interactive online environmental justice tool to help disproportionately impacted communities and designed by three Colorado State University entities for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

More specifically, EnviroScreen identifies the Colorado communities that have been most impacted by systematic barriers to health and wellness and the cumulative impact of environmental pollution.

The tool announced by CDPHE was developed in partnership with CSU’s Institute for the Built Environment, Geospatial Centroid and Rojas Public Health Lab. The CSU team provided technical expertise and worked with stakeholders to produce an easy-to-use resource for Colorado’s disproportionately impacted communities and the organizations that serve them.

“Colorado EnviroScreen is a great way to attract attention to the large environmental inequities that exist in Colorado,” said Dr. David Rojas Rueda, project lead for the CSU team and member of CDPHE’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board, “and at the same time is a tool that will help us identify where the opportunities for improvement are.”

Mapping pollution and health inequities

Impacted communities will be able to: distribute grants; identify locales affected as defined by the Environmental Justice Act; and help prioritize enforcement and compliance initiatives under an agreement signed by CDPHE with the EPA.

“In addition to providing overall project management, IBE led stakeholder engagement efforts to help assure the tool would be useful for a wide array of people and organizations,” said Josie Plaut, associate director at the Institute for the Built Environment, adding that the tool is designed to help community members, legislators and activists promote health equity through objective data. “The EnviroScreen tool is an important resource for Colorado, especially for communities who have experienced negative health outcomes because they are close to industry, highways and other pollution sources.”

Sophia Linn, the associate director at the Geospatial Centroid, added: “Combining disparate datasets and visualizing them on a map can reveal patterns and correlations that otherwise may go unnoticed, especially in terms of inequities.

“The Geospatial Centroid explicitly has a charge to focus on using geospatial technologies to address social and environmental justice issues. We are delighted that our involvement with the development of Colorado EnviroScreen can help lead to tangible action, attention, and resource allocation to communities across the state.”

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