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U.S. EPA Releases the ECHO Clean Air Tracking Tool (ECATT) and EJScreen 2.2

Posted: July 19th, 2023

Authors: Rich H. 

In the last few weeks, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has released one new tool, the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Clean Air Tracking Tool (ECATT), and updated another, releasing EJScreen version 2.2. These new tools combine numerous data sources and appear to be the next step in facilitating cumulative impact analyses (CIA) related to projects near environmental justice (EJ) communities.

Enforcement and Compliance History Online Clean Air Tracking Tool

ECATT was released to the public on May 31, 2023. It is not an EJ tool specifically but is another means of making facilities’ environmental data available to the public. ECATT “provides an integrated view of Clean Air Act Data and is the only U.S. EPA interface to combine emissions, enforcement and compliance, environmental justice, air monitoring station, and modeled toxic risk data,” according to U.S. EPA.

The powerful tool combines several sources of data:

  • Emissions data by facility (from the National Emissions Inventory (NEI) and Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)),
  • Enforcement and compliance history (from the ECHO database),
  • Environmental Justice Indicators (from EJScreen),
  • Air monitoring data (from U.S. EPA’s Air Quality System (AQS) database and other sources), and
  • Modeled air toxics risk data (from AirToxScreen).

ECATT offers two main searches:

  • The Air Monitoring Stations (AMS) search provides data about air monitoring stations that measure ambient or outdoor concentrations of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) and Criteria Air Pollutants (CAPs). The search can be used to identify areas with high pollutant concentrations and higher potential for health impacts and identify the facilities emitting in those areas. Specifically, the AMS search:
    • Provides searchable data on criteria pollutants (CAPs) and
      hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) across the U.S. EPA monitoring network.
    • Allows searching on individual or user-defined groups of pollutants in any combination desired.
    • Allows display of trending data for individual monitors and pollutants.
    • Allows mapping of pollutant data vs. EJ data with thresholds (i.e., “all monitors with cancer risk > 10 in a million where 3+ EJ indices are over the 80th percentile”).
  • The Emissions Screener search provides data on stationary sources regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Users can analyze the data reported to EPA to identify top emitters and answer questions such as: who is emitting, where are they emitting, which pollutants are they emitting, and how much are they emitting? The search organizes emissions data by facility, industry, or pollutant. Through the facility report, users can access each facility’s Air Pollutant Report to view detailed emissions data. Specifically, the Emissions Screener search:
    • Allows search by individual facilities, industry sector(s) or pollutants.
    • Allows search on who is emitting? Where? Which pollutants? And how much?
    • Allows drill down on specific facility emissions and enforcement data.

The Emissions Screener has powerful search capabilities, such that you could select an entire industrial sector, search for any facility in that sector that meets certain criteria (level of cancer risk, in an EJ area, etc.), and get a list of facilities that can then be sorted by risk, emission levels, etc. The user can then click on individual facilities to get detailed emissions data, enforcement history, and other environmental information.

There are two video tutorials that show how to use the tool, and U.S EPA has been holding office hours to demonstrate the tool as well.

EJScreen 2.2

On June 26th, U.S. EPA released EJScreen version 2.2 which includes new data sets designed to help agencies and users evaluate multiple factors that may impact communities. The new version of the tool includes:

  • All demographic indicators are updated to use data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) 2017-2021 5-year summary. The data sources for most of the EJ indexes were also updated to more recent data.
  • A new EJ and supplemental index, “Toxic Releases to Air,” which incorporated data from the TRI and is based on the Risk Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) toxicity-weighted results for the air pathway, based on 2021 TRI data.
  • A redesigned and modular reporting system that allows for more customization of the report to meet a specific user’s needs. The past “Printable Standard Report” is still there but redesigned as the “EJScreen Community Report.” This new report also includes health, climate, and critical service gap data.
  • Additional demographics, breaking down Census data by race, languages spoken, and gender.
  • New map layers with health disparities including cancer, people with disabilities, critical service gaps on housing, health, insurance, and transportation accessibility.
  • A new map layer that includes U.S. EPA regulated facilities that are subject to enforcement actions for being out of compliance drawn from the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO)

These tools are part of a continuing set of steps that U.S. EPA and other agencies have been making towards facilitating the inclusion of CIA and cumulative risk analyses (CRA) into the evaluation of impacts on overburdened communities as described in the recent draft Guidelines for Cumulative Risk Assessment Planning and Problem Formulation released for public comment by U.S. EPA on June 16th.

What Does it Mean to You?

ECATT and EJScreen 2.2 are part of an expanding line of tools and other information sources making facilities’ environmental data more easily accessible. ECATT may be the most comprehensive tool combining air pollutant information and EJ information to date, and EJScreen continues to offer more and more layers and the ability to drill down to increasing levels of granularity on social and health demographics. It is important to review these  tools to make sure that there are no surprises when you want to do a project or renew your permits and that the data in the tools is accurate. Care needs to be taken when developing emissions reports for submittal to state and federal agencies so that the data is complete and accurate, as this data is used to populate the NEI and TRI and ultimately incorporated into ECATT and EJScreen.

If you have concerns about the potential implications of ECATT or EJScreen or need help parsing through these tools, feel free to contact your ALL4 Project Manager or Rich Hamel. We’ll continue to monitor EJ guidance from the administration and states and the tools available to evaluate EJ concerns as they develop. We can also help you evaluate permitting risks, from EJ concerns to regulatory issues, and assist in developing a strategy to make the permitting of your project as efficient as possible.


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