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EGLE to accept public comments on new interactive environmental justice tool
March 17, 2022
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has opened a 60-day public comment period on a newly developed draft interactive mapping tool to help identify Michigan communities disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards.The draft Michigan Environmental Justice Mapping and Screening Tool (MiEJScreen) allows users to explore environmental, health, and socio-economic indicators. These indicators are guides to help identify where populations are more vulnerable, what challenges communities face, and provide data to move toward environmental equity. The creation of the tool was a 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," EGLE Director Liesl Clark said. "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."
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."
Where can I learn more?
In the next 60 days, EGLE will offer several opportunities to learn about the tool during informational sessions, office hours, and an opportunity to provide official comments. The first of these is a webinar focusing on the background and development and how to use the tool.
Register to attend the MiEJScreen Informational Webinar and Screening Tool Demonstrations on March 29. There will be an afternoon and evening session.
More information on the background and development of the tool and links to register for other opportunities to ask questions and provide comments can be found at Michigan.gov/EnvironmentalJustice.
Public comments on the tool are welcome in any of the following ways by May 16, 2022:
- By email: EGLE-EnvironmentalJustice@Michigan.gov
- In writing to:
EGLE Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate
P.O. Box 30473
Lansing, MI 48909-7973
- By voicemail: 517-284-1400
- At the public comment opportunities on April 27, 2022.
If you have questions about the tool or how to provide comment, please contact the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate at EGLE-EnvironmentalJustice@Michigan.gov.
Information about EGLE's environmental justice activities can be found at Michigan.gov/EnvironmentalJustice.
The Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate was created by Gov. Whitmer's Executive Order 2019-06 to serve as an external and internal advocate and catalyst for ensuring environmental justice throughout the state. The Office operates as a Type I agency within EGLE, with a direct line to the governor's office to elevate concerns and coordinate across state government. The Office also works to address and resolve environmental justice concerns and complaints and advance environmental justice and equity in Michigan.