Online environmental tool identifies most polluted cities

CALEXICO, Calif. – State officials from environmental agencies met with the Imperial Valley community in Calexico on Wednesday to present their new CalEnviroScreen online application. California Environmental Protection Agency Official Lauren Zeise said the application looks at measures of pollution burden and vulnerability in communities.

Zeise said it’s a mapping tool that identifies California communities most affected by  pollution. “Imperial valley particularly around Calexico is ranked depends on which census track you’re living in, where you’re located, but it’s between in the top ten to the top 30 percent,” Zeise said.

This tool is used to decide where to invest billions of pollution-fighting project dollars.”To see where the most disadvantaged communities are so that investment to these communities can be increased,” Zeise said.

Another official said the meeting is an opportunity for the public to share their concerns. “What sort of environmental pollution or what type of impacts health impacts socio-economic impacts that they are facing in their communities,” CalEPA Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice Arsenio Mataka said.

Comite Civico del Valle Director Luis Olmedo said he’s optimistic in using the tool to bring about change in the area. “Puts us in a very strong position to qualify, have greater priority for climate investment funds,” Olmedo said.

The public can access the tool online at  www.oehha.ca.gov

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