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Maps & Geospatial Information System (GIS) Tools for Environmental Justice

Geospatial Information System (GIS) data sets or data layers are collections of related information that are linked to specific geographic locations. These can be used to create maps that present specialized information. DEC has a number of GIS resources available for mapping and researching information related to environmental justice in New York State.

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.

The federal poverty level and urban/rural designations for census block groups are established by the U.S. Census Bureau. See CP-29 for more information.

The following links provide PDFs of Potential Environmental Justice Areas by county.

Potential Environmental Justice Areas by County
Albany (PDF) (2.70 MB) Allegany (PDF) (1.22 MB) Bronx (PDF) (3.77 MB) Broome (PDF) (1.25 MB)
Cattaraugus (PDF) (1.24 MB) Cayuga (PDF) (1.20 MB) Chautauqua (PDF) (1.82 MB) Chemung (PDF) (565 KB)
Chenango (PDF) (771 KB) Clinton (PDF) (1.19 MB) Columbia (PDF) (2.81 MB) Cortland (PDF) (602 KB)
Delaware (PDF) (800 KB) Dutchess (PDF) (1.97 MB) Erie (PDF) (3.11 MB) Essex (PDF) (638 KB)
Franklin (PDF) (1.11 MB) Fulton (PDF) (1.23 MB) Genesee (PDF) (543 KB) Greene (PDF) (2.81 MB)
Hamilton - No PEJAs Present Herkimer (PDF) (1.10 MB) Jefferson (PDF) (1.75 MB) Kings (PDF) (3.71 MB)
Lewis (PDF) (665 KB) Livingston (PDF) (971 KB) Madison (PDF) (1.67 MB) Monroe (PDF) (2.05 MB)
Montgomery (PDF) (786 KB) Nassau (PDF) (4.42 MB) New York (PDF) (2.97 MB) Niagara (PDF) (2.44 MB)
Oneida (PDF) (2.05 MB) Onondaga (PDF) (1.87 MB) Ontario (PDF) (728 KB) Orange (PDF) (2.31 MB)
Orleans - No PEJAs Present Oswego (PDF) (1.11 MB) Otsego (PDF) (976 KB) Putnam - No PEJAs Present
Queens (PDF) (3.80 MB) Rensselaer (PDF) (1.57 MB) Richmond (PDF) (2.76 MB) Rockland (PDF) (2.03 MB)
Saratoga (PDF) (1.43 MB) Schenectady (PDF) (1.21 MB) Schoharie (PDF) (802 KB) Schuyler - No PEJAs Present
Seneca - No PEJAs Present St. Lawrence (PDF) (1.57 MB) Steuben (PDF) (1.01 MB) Suffolk West (PDF) (3.57 MB)
Suffolk East (PDF) (1.99 MB) Sullivan (PDF) (1.89 MB) Tioga (PDF) (980 KB) Tompkins (PDF) (639 KB)
Ulster (PDF) (2.60 MB) Warren (PDF) (1.00 MB) Washington (PDF) (591 KB) Wayne (PDF) (644 KB)
Westchester (PDF) (4.96 MB) Wyoming (PDF) (924 KB) Yates - No PEJAs Present

To view PEJAs in greater detail or to combine 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 When this data layer is opened in Google Earth, the PEJAs appear as transparent purple polygons superimposed on the map of New York State. Zooming in to a PEJA and clicking within its boundaries opens a pop-up window with information on the geographic location of the PEJA and 2000 U.S. Census statistics for population, percentage of the population in minority groups, and percentage of the population with incomes below the federal poverty level.

Other GIS Resources & Data Available from DEC

The DEC Mapping Gateway provides links to Internet tools for viewing DEC's GIS data and for downloading GIS data layers to use in different software packages.

The DEC Data Gateway provides links to DEC databases and applications. DEC's Geodata Inventory can also be accessed from the New York State GIS Clearinghouse (leaves DEC's website).

The Environmental Facilities Navigator is a useful tool for viewing DEC's GIS data on permitted facilities, remediation sites and related information on the Internet.

The Environmental Resource Mapper is an interactive mapping application that can be used to identify some of New York State's natural resources and environmental features that are state or federally protected, or of conservation concern.

GIS Resources for Environmental Justice Available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The U.S. EPA has several websites devoted to GIS data about EPA-regulated facilities. Please note that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the DEC Office of Environmental Justice are not responsible for the accuracy or timeliness of GIS data maintained by EPA. Please contact EPA with any questions or concerns about the information on these sites.

EPA EJView is a mapping tool that allows users to create maps and generate detailed reports based on the geographic areas and data sets they choose.

EPA Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) is a Web-based tool that provides public access to compliance and enforcement information for approximately 800,000 EPA-regulated facilities.

EPA Geospatial Data Download Service provides downloadable GIS files of facilities or sites that are subject to EPA regulations. Files are available in the following formats: extensible markup language (XML) file, keyhole markup language (KML) file, ESRI geodatabase, and comma separated values (CSV).

EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) provides information regarding toxic chemical releases and pollution prevention activities reported by regulated facilities.


The Potential Environmental Justice Area maps have been compiled from supplied data or information that has not been verified by NYSDEC and should be used as a general representation only. 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. It is not to be used for commercial purposes without verification by an independent professional qualified to verify such data or information.

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 current census data, a site visit, the application of personal or institutional knowledge, or the collection of field or other data. Where uncertainty exists, please contact the Office of Environmental Justice.

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.