For Immediate Release
December 14, 2015 Contact: Sam Delson, (916) 324-0955 (office) (916) 764-0955 (mobile)
SACRAMENTO—The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) today released a Spanish-language interface for the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen), making the interactive online mapping tool available in Spanish for the first time.
“Many of the Californians who live in the communities identified by CalEnviroScreen as most burdened by pollution speak Spanish as their first language,” said CalEPA Secretary Matthew Rodriquez. “Making this tool available in Spanish helps to advance environmental justice for all Californians.”
Almost 30 percent of Californians over age five speak Spanish at home as their primary language, according to the US Census Bureau.
Developed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) at the request of CalEPA, CalEnviroScreen is a science-based tool that identifies the California communities most burdened by pollution from multiple sources and most vulnerable to its effects. It is being used to help implement a state law (SB 535) that requires that at least 25 percent of the proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions be invested in projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, including 10 percent for projects located within these areas.
To date, more than $800 million has been appropriated for investments benefitting disadvantaged communities. These investments include $9 million in funding for clean, alternative transportation in disadvantaged areas, such as a zero-emission vehicle carsharing program in Los Angeles’ Pico Rivera neighborhood, and financial assistance for pilot projects to help replace some of the state’s dirtiest vehicles in the San Joaquin Valley and southern California. They also include $150 million that is being used to install solar power and weatherization measures for thousands of homes in disadvantaged communities.
The tool uses data on 12 indicators of pollution and environmental quality, and seven indicators of socioeconomic and public health conditions, to calculate a score for each of the state’s 8,000 census tracts based on their overall pollution burdens and vulnerabilities. While users previously were able to view maps based on those combined scores, they can now also explore maps and data from each of the 19 individual indicators that make up the scores. These indicator maps include ozone, particulate matter, drinking water contaminants, pesticide use, asthma rates, educational attainment and poverty, among others, in both English and Spanish.
“CalEnviroScreen has been helping policymakers, scientists, and everyday Californians examine pollution and population characteristics in combination, but it can also be useful to look at these factors individually,” said OEHHA Acting Director Dr. Lauren Zeise. “These new interactive tools will make it easy for Californians to do both.”
“It’s important for tools like these to be accessible in more than one language,” said Veronica Padilla-Campos, Executive Director of Pacoima Beautiful, an environmental justice advocacy organization active in communities identified as burdened by CalEnviroScreen. “We appreciate CalEPA and OEHHA’s work not just to identify burdened communities, but also to make this information more accessible to the people most burdened by pollution.”
Air Resources Board • Department of Pesticide Regulation • Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery • Department of Toxic Substances Control • Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment • State Water Resources Control Board • Regional Water Quality Control Boards
1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 • P.O. Box 2815, Sacramento, CA 95812 • (916) 323-2514 www.calepa.ca.gov