Presentation Open Access

Environmental Enforcement Watch: Environmental Data Justice through Participatory Data Science

Breseman, Kelsey

The U.S. EPA maintains an open dataset of information about permits issued under the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Acts, among others. This dataset describes, for instance, how much pollution an industrial facility is permitted to discharge into waterways and how many times they have been fined by the EPA—important information for environmental justice. But though there is a lot of information about permits and pollution, it is not organized in such a way as to answer questions about health or aggregate impacts—the kinds of questions people living in the area might find most meaningful. In the Environmental Enforcement Watch (EEW) project, we work with communities potentially impacted by facilities’ (non)compliance with their permits to co-develop open source Jupyter Notebooks. We use these to explore questions partners have about their environment and their communities’ health. In this presentation, we’ll explain our approach, show Notebooks we’ve developed, and share stories and outcomes from this attempt to model a more participatory approach to environmental governance.

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