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PA Environmental Justice Areas

How does DEP identify Environmental Justice (EJ) areas?

For the purposes of the DEP Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy, DEP defines an EJ Area as any census tract where 20 percent or more individuals live at or below the federal poverty line, and/or 30 percent or more of the population identifies as a non-white minority, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the federal guidelines for poverty. EJ Areas are mapped on DEP’s EJ Areas Viewer at

For work outside the Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy, DEP staff may take a broader approach to considering communities with Environmental Justice considerations. While DEP has designated Environmental Justice Areas for implementing the Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy, there is not a Commonwealth-wide definition or federally recognized definition of Environmental Justice Areas. A multitude of factors are considered in community engagement at the federal, state, and local level regarding environmental justice.

Where are Pennsylvania's EJ Areas located

DEP hosts several tools to help you determine if the Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy would apply to your community. You can determine if your community is located in an EJ Area by using the EJ Areas Viewer, eMap or by contacting the regional coordinator in your region. The EJ Areas Viewer allows you to enter an address, municipality, or county in the search bar to help find that exact location. The EJ Areas Viewer interactive mapping tool offers access to centralized geographic, demographic, and permitted-facilities data that is of particular concern to environmental justice communities and gathered from public sources, including eMap and the U.S. Census.

DEP staff may look at a variety of available resources from national and regional sources to tailor outreach to EJ communities. These tools are available for public use and you can contact the regional coordinator in your region for assistance with these tools. They include analysis of additional demographic and environmental indicators of environmental justice beyond those considered in the Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy. Regional tools often cover a smaller geographic area, allowing for more precise analysis.


DVRPC’s Indicators of Potential Disadvantage

LVPC’s Equity Analysis