With luck, journalists who want to do deeper stories on the environmental risks faced by specific communities may get a new data mapping tool from EPA. It's called C-FERST.
Still in beta, C-FERST could be helpful in tracking environmental justice stories: the impact of specific pollutant exposures on particular geographic and demographic communities. It is a richer version of some earlier EPA tools, such as one called RSEI. It stands for Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool.
EPA is using the C-FERST tool in its own research on the cumulative risk of pollution for communities. It is making the tool available on request to some agencies, communities, and researchers. Will journalists be next?
This is one of the stories in the March 27, 2013 issue of SEJ's biweekly WatchDog. Find the rest of the stories and past issues here.