EGLE Accepting Public Comment on Environmental Justice Tool

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is opening a 60-day public comment period on a new interactive mapping tool to help identify communities impacted by environmental hazards.

According to EGLE, the Michigan Environmental Justice Mapping and Screening tool (MiEJScreen) allows users to explore environmental, health and socio-economic indicators, which are guides to help identify where populations are the most vulnerable, what challenges they face and provide data to move toward environmental equity.

They say the creation of the tool was an cooperative effort with EGLE’s Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate and the Michigan Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team.

“Integrating equity and environmental justice into state government is vital for the state of Michigan,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “This tool is one of the first steps to better understand challenges communities are faced with. As we work to respond to challenges and leverage resources, this tool will provide a new and helpful element to our work.”

EGLE states the purpose of the tool is to:

  • Help EGLE and other state departments identify Michigan communities disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards. Examine and map cumulative factors to identify communities that may be disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards.
  •  Assist EGLE and other state departments with decisions, such as prioritizing resources, identifying areas for additional outreach, guiding policy decisions, prioritizing programs, and planning for the future.
  •  Inform future planning to improve the environment and quality of life for all residents of and visitors to Michigan.
  •   Provide a resource for the public and stakeholders.

“MiEJScreen brings together a wide range of data and social factors communities face to better address issues as they arise, focus resources and inform policy,” said Regina Strong, Environmental Justice Public Advocate. “The tool can be used by all stakeholders and is something that both advocates and other partners have long asked for to address environmental justice issues.”

Over the next 60 days, EGLE will be offering several opportunities for Michiganders to learn about the tool during informational sessions and office hours, along with an opportunity to provide additional comments.

The first of these is a webinar scheduled for March 29 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. that will focus on the background and development, as well as how to use the tool.

Moreover, public comments on the interactive tool are open until May 16.

To email you comments to EGLE, click here.

You can also submit your comments in writing to EGLE at: EGLE Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate, Constitution Hall, P.O. Box 30473, Lansing, MI 48909-7973.

For more information about the interactive tool and to ask questions or provide comments, click here.