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County Maps Showing Potential Environmental Justice Areas

As established in DEC Commissioner Policy 29 on Environmental Justice and Permitting (CP-29), Potential EJ Areas are 2000 U.S. Census block groups of 250 to 500 households each that, in the 2000 Census, had populations that met or exceeded at least one of the following statistical thresholds:

  1. At least 51.1% of the population in an urban area reported themselves to be members of minority groups; or
  2. At least 33.8% of the population in a rural area reported themselves to be members of minority groups; or
  3. At least 23.59% of the population in an urban or rural area had household incomes below the federal poverty level.

Urban and rural designations for census block groups were established by the U.S. Census Bureau. See CP-29 for more information.

The Office of Environmental Justice has replaced the original county maps of Potential Environmental Justice Areas (PEJAs) with new interactive PDF maps that have improved clarity and detail. To view PEJAs in greater detail and see them with other spatial information, download the GIS layer of PEJAs in KMZ format for Google Earth (TM). You will need Google Earth 5 or later to view the KMZ file; the latest version of Google Earth is available to download for free at

Note: 1

These maps should be used as a general representation only. Where uncertainty exists, staff should contact the Office of Environmental Justice to obtain a detailed map of the geographic area of interest.

Note: 2

The maps are based on data from the 2000 U.S. Census. Occasionally the mapped potential environmental justice areas (PEJAs) will conflict with what is known or what is expected for a geographic area. This is commonly due to minor discrepancies in the 2000 U.S. Census demographic data, the GIS application used to create the maps, or some other discrepancy. For instance, some cemeteries, parks or other open space areas with little or no residential population may appear as PEJAs; and, although rare, sometimes a census block group with a low number of racial or ethnic minorities or a high average income level will appear as a PEJA. Also, prisons or other institutions with a high minority population may weight the census block group, causing it to appear as a PEJA on the map.

To address these apparent discrepancies, ground truthing is performed where the map appears to conflict with what is known or what is expected for a geographic area. Ground truthing refers to the collection of reference material used to verify the demographic data. Ground truthing may be accomplished through a variety of methods, including: a review of the census data, a site visit, the application of personal or institutional knowledge, or the collection of field or other data.

Note: 3

This computer representation has been compiled from supplied data or information that has not been verified by NYSDEC. The data is offered here as a general representation only and is not to be used for commercial purposes without verification by an independent professional qualified to verify such data or information.

NYSDEC does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information shown and shall not be liable for any loss or injury resulting from reliance.

For further information, please call the DEC Environmental Justice Hotline toll-free at 1-866-229-0497 or e-mail the Office of Environmental Justice.

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