Environmental Justice at MDE

What is Environmental Justice?

State law defines environmental justice (EJ) as "equal protection from environmental and public health hazards for all people regardless of race, income, culture, and social status.​​"

What is MDE's Environmental Justice​ Mission?

To prioritize environmental health in all communities, with a particular focus in communities with environmental justice concerns, through increased permitting, enforcement, compliance monitoring, and resource allocation.

Why is Environmental Justice Important?

Historically, minorities, low income, and limited English proficiency communities have carried the burden of living in close proximity to hazardous facilities and have been exposed to increasing pollution. The goal of MDE's EJ initiatives is to ensure fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, especially those in communities with EJ concerns who have often been overlooked. 

All residents of the State of Maryland have a right to live, learn, work, and play in a clean and healthy environment. MDE's internal EJ policy and implementation plan prioritizes public participation with communities with EJ concerns at the beginning​ and throughout MDE's permitting process.

​​​Environmental Justice Resources​

​MDE EJ Screening Tool​​​​​​

The goal of this tool is to provide users with data to inform their decisions on siting, permitting, enforcement, and infrastructure improvements. The demographic and socioeconomic data, coupled with MDE-specific elements such as proximity to active high air emission facilities, or wastewater treatment facilities, will be used to help underserved and overburdened communities in Maryland.

Open MDE
​Open MDE is the agencies public-facing, transparent data portal that provides the public with easy to use and searchable platforms of MDE’s Permit and Compliance Assurance data. The portal has capabilities to view or download available records or documents related to citizen complaints, compliance inspections, violations, permits, and sewage​ overflows.

​​Fish Consumption Advisory Tool

​This tool provides modernized, user-friendly information on fish consumption advisories. A consumption advisory is a recommendation to limit or avoid eating certain species of fish caught from specific water bodies due to environmental factors.​

​EPA EJScreen

​EJScreen is an EPA's environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators.

​AirToxScreen Mapping Tool

This tool displays cancer risks, emissions data, and other AirToxScreen data on a map. Users can "zoom" to areas of interest using the map's search tool, select census tracts to see summary level information about risk from air toxics, and view other AirToxScreen data and results.​

The Toxics Release Inventory

​TRI is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain covered industry groups as well as federal facilities. This inventory was established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) and expanded by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990.​​

​​​Maryland Green Registry
​​The Maryland Green Registry is a free, voluntary program offering tips and resources to help businesses and other organizations set and meet their own goals on the path to sustainability.
CCP Green Space Equity Tool
​The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership Green Space Equity Tool highlights low-income communities and communities of color with limited access to open space in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

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