This is your Spinach team. We’re still here, and we haven’t forgotten about you. Excuse our appearance as we partake in the hottest summer on record. We’re going to be better, we promise.
I have some good news to report. The EPA Office of Environmental Justice blog reported that EPA is in the process of testing a new tool that would allow you to measure pollution in your community (take about leverage for an Erin Brockovich style lawsuit). Communities all over the country face different types of hazards. Whether it’s river pollution, intense storms, or nearby landfills and factories causing harm to your community, there’s no doubt that local environmental problems are diverse and have unique challenges.
EPA’s Office of Research and Development is in the process of designing the Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST) to address local unique challenges. C-FERST has been developed to increase the availability and accessibility of science and data for evaluating impacts of pollutants and local conditions, ranking risks, and understanding the environmental health consequences of your community.
Springfield, MA and Portland, ME were among the first two cities that used C-FERST and they convened members of their community to review data and held town hall meetings. They now use reports and maps from C-FERST to prioritize the community’s top issues as they undergo a community assessment. Communities already baring health impacts face even more burden when they have to prove causation that a company or practice is causing harm. It is my hope that these tools become more accessible to communities. Protecting and investing in our communities keesp our nation strong; I once heard that sustaining our communities is a matter of national security. Have a nice weekend. Cheers.