DEQ to unveil Community Mapping System with EJ Tool at the Secretary’s Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board Meeting May 22

RALEIGH

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality plans to unveil a North Carolina Community Mapping System at the fourth meeting of the Secretary’s Environmental Justice (EJ) and Equity Advisory Board meeting tomorrow in Charlotte. The meeting will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. at UNC-Charlotte’s Harris Alumni Center at Johnson Glen.

“We are excited to unveil the Community Mapping System that will provide communities up-to-date information, and allow state regulators and economic recruiters to have better information for decisions,” said DEQ Secretary Michael Regan. “This system will provide a transparent mechanism specific to North Carolina.”

This system can be widely used by all. Local governments can use it to be more aware of underserved, disproportionately impacted communities as they make planning decisions; while communities, businesses and developers can use it to know what’s around them. For state agencies like DEQ, it can be used as a screening tool to help make more informed decisions and target public engagement.

The Community Mapping System features existing data from DEQ divisions along with census data, other geographic and socioeconomic data collected by federal or academic institutions, and health data provided by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The Community Mapping System also includes more North Carolina-specific information, such as state tribal layers and environmental permits, providing a complementary screening tool to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s EJSCREEN.

Using GIS technology, the System will visually map facilities DEQ regulates and permits, layering it with census data and health information. As this is a dynamic and evolving system, new data layers will be added as they become available.

The Community Mapping System with EJ Tool is an outgrowth of a recent Title VI discussions. DEQ researched how other states and the EPA map communities of concern, and how these respective tools are used. DEQ held three community meetings and several stakeholder meetings earlier this year to receive feedback on what community members would like to see in North Carolina’s System. This input was used to create the beta version of the Community Mapping System.

The public is invited to attend the Secretary’s Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board meeting to view the Community Mapping System and provide comments. There will be a public comment period, and feedback received will be considered as the department makes modifications to the System’s next version. The Community Mapping System will go live on Thursday, May 23, following the Advisory Board meeting, and can be accessed from the DEQ website.

More information about the North Carolina Community Mapping System can be found online at: https://deq.nc.gov/outreach-education/environmental-justice/deq-north-carolina-community-mapping-system.      

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