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Maryland Environmental Justice Map and Screening Tool

Sacoby Wilson leads project to enhance environmental equity monitoring

Faculty Associate Sacoby Wilson will enhance the Maryland Environmental Justice Map and Screening, tool developed in 2017, under a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The tool uses data visualization to illustrate environmental impacts in communities across the state of Maryland, giving an environmental justice, or “EJ", score for each census tract.

The new award will help fill gaps by expanding the tool’s ability to quantify environmental harms that affect health of people living in rural communities. The expanded map will include environmental hazards of concern in rural areas such as the use levels of agricultural pesticides, manure and proximity to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to better understand impacts on people there, noted Elizabeth Shwe, writing for Maryland Matters.

The expanded tool will also include more data on demographic segregation, water quality and funding streams to show whether money is flowing to communities with the most need. “Our tool has some gaps…it’s very urban centric,” Wilson said. The state of Maryland is geographically diverse, with many in rural areas relying on well water and septic tanks, he noted. “We want to improve the tool to make sure it captures those rural issues.”


"Extend Maryland Environmental Justice Screening (MDEJSCREEN) tool to understand and address environmental justice issues that burden rural communities and children's health in Maryland", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, $99,994; 08/27/2021-03/01/2022