The Cumulative Impacts (CI) screening method is jointly being developed by Manuel Pastor, Jim Sadd (Occidental College), and Rachel Morello-Frosch (UC Berkeley) for the California Air Resources Board. The CI tool is a visual mapping tool and a scoring procedure that examines cumulative impacts in neighborhoods along four dimensions: proximity to hazards, health risk indicators, social vulnerability indicators, and land use. Each of these dimensions is ranked and scored, and then all four dimensions are added together. The result is the creation of a visual reference that could be used in citing, zoning, and policy development processes as well as to identify overburdened communities. Funding for the project has been provided by the California Air Resource Board and there is some discussion of using the screening method in the implementation of AB 32.
- The CI tool has been used extensively and presented to several organizations and governmental bodies so as to incorporate the method into basic environmental and land use decision-making processes.
- In addition, the method was presented to the Los Angeles city planning department and House of Representatives staff to address air quality issues, the cumulative impact of toxicity in poor communities and integrating indicators of cumulative impact and community vulnerability into broader regulatory decision-making.
- Also, the Southern California Environmental Justice Collaborative used the technique to advance land use policy changes in Los Angeles.
Moreover, the screening method was used as the foundation for several “ground truthing” exercises in which local community residents catalog the location of industrial businesses and their proximity to gathering places for young and elderly residents, who could be most affected by contaminated air and water. The CI tool is integral to the compiling of an accurate picture of where toxic and hazardous sites are located and how they affect the health of nearby communities.
The screening method purpose is to develop indicators of cumulative impact that are transparent and relevant to policy-makers and communities to be used as an extensive tool to assess local land use planning ordinances. The goal of the tool is to integrate its use into state and local regulatory decision-making and enforcement while directly involving the local community inputs in its analysis and implementation.
The Science of Screening—Implications for Implementing Climate Change Mitigations and Green Zone Development
December 3, 2010, USC in Los Angeles
While the 2010 electoral season provoked uncertainty about the future of climate change laws in California, there is no uncertainty about the need to identify places and people especially vulnerable to climate change’s impact. To this end, there has been interest in whether screening methods developed to look at air pollution could also be effective for identifying where climate mitigation efforts are most needed.
To talk about this issue, USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), in collaboration with the California Environmental Justice Alliance, hosted a workshop entitled: “The Science of Screening—Implications for Implementing Climate Change Mitigations and Green Zone Development.”
PERE is the home of one of the members of a research team (Rachel Morello-Frosch, UC Berkeley, Manuel Pastor, USC, and Jim Sadd, Occidental) that has been working on an environmental justice screening method, with funding support from the California Air Resources Board and the input of many community activists, academic peers, and agency personnel. We are hoping to extend the work to include measures of climate change vulnerability and to better fit non-metropolitan areas of California. A handful of other researchers and agency personnel have also been working on environmental justice screening methods, and this workshop was a place to start sharing lessons from all our research.
Download presentations and learn more about the workshop >>
Cumulative Impacts (CI) Screening Method
By Rachel Morello Frosh and Manuel Pastor
August 13, 2010
Environmental Justice Screening Method: Integrating Indicators of Cumulative Impact into Regulatory Decision-Making
By Rachel Morello Frosh, Manuel Pastor, Jim Sadd and Justin Scoggins
News about Cumulative Impacts Screening Method
On the front lines of search for toxic sites
By Jennifer Oldham
September 7, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Materials and Resources
Fact Sheet: Cumulative Impacts and AB 32 Implementation
California’s climate law requires consideration of how AB 32 implementation will impact “communities that are already adversely affected by air pollution.” Specifically, this means that measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should be designed to “direct public and private investment toward the most disadvantaged communities in California and provide an opportunity for smallbusinesses, schools, affordable housing associations, and other community institutions to participate in and benefit from statewide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Therefore, implementation requires a scientifically valid, practical and transparent method for screening and ranking the risks of air pollution on communities throughout the state.