Environmental Justice areas in this guide have been defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The Department defines an environmental justice area as any census tract where at least 20 percent of the population lives in poverty, and/or 30 percent or more of the population is minority.
Environmental Justice areas defined by the Pennsylvania DEP are used in facility permitting. Facilities applying for a permit in an environmental justice area need to follow special guidelines which involve engaging the community and receiving public comment before they can be approved.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to define the environmental justice areas using 2010 Census Tract boundaries.