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Mobilizing Highly Impacted Communities Near Toxic Sites

In late 2017 Front and Centered was awarded a Public Participation Grant (PPG) by the Washington State Department of Ecology for our Mapping to Mobilizing project.

Ecology’s PPG grants were created after voters approved the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) Initiative 97 in 1989.  The grants provide funding to increase public understanding and involvement in cleaning up contaminated sites and improving recycling and waste management. In 2017 Ecology improved rules and guidelines of the Public Participation Grants to address equity, including prioritizing projects that engage highly impacted communities, those with greater health and socio-economic barriers, people with lower incomes, and non-English speaking communities.

Front and Centered project includes outreach, education, and organizing effort designed to inform and engage leaders in highly impacted communities to address environmental hazards in their neighborhoods.  That includes social mapping, outreach and engagement, environmental education, and public participation.

We developed the map below to prioritize outreach and engagement.  The map combines data from the Department of Ecology Cleanup Site list (click dots for info below) with the Washington Tracking Networks Social Vulnerability to Hazard index in their Information by Location mapping tool (showing only the most vulnerable scores 8 to 10) as an approximation for highly impacted communities.  Front and Centered is also co-leading a team to develop a  more robust environmental justice map that will combine pollution, health, and socio-economic data into a single score for each census tract, similar to CalEnviroScreen.

If you’re interested in learning more, including how your organization might participate in our network and benefit from this project, please contact us!