The legacy of environmental racism runs decades long, and has often left America’s lower-income, Black, Brown and Indigenous communities disproportionately impacted by polluted air and water, and vulnerable to extreme weather events. And we know that throughout the nation, these communities are shouldering a heavier energy burden, with the poorest families in our country paying upwards of 30% of their income for energy costs.
The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Biden-Harris Administration have made it clear that those impacted by pollution need to be the first to benefit from clean energy solutions, and that equity will serve as their North Star. On his first day in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The Administration doubled down a week later, on January 27, with Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, to establish the Justice40 Initiative, a government-wide initiative to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities.
With the beta launch of the Energy Justice Dashboard (BETA), DOE is working to better understand how the Department’s funding and investments are distributed to overburdened and underserved communities that have been left behind and unheard for too long.
The Energy Justice Dashboard (BETA) is a pilot data visualization tool that displays DOE-specific investments in communities across the country experiencing disproportionately high and adverse economic, human health, climate-related, environmental, and other cumulative impacts. The Dashboard displays DOE cost data — grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts — from more than twenty-five DOE program offices, for the fiscal years 2019 to present.
The Energy Justice Dashboard (BETA) relies on the environmental indicators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s iconic EJSCREEN tool (Version 1.0) to show which low-income communities or communities of color are facing the worst air pollution or public health risks at the census tract level. The Dashboard also overlays energy burden — a key indicator of energy justice that shows how much households spend on energy bills as a portion of their income — using data from DOE’s Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool.
Employing these unique equity layers as data indicators, the Energy Justice Dashboard (BETA) will, over time, help identify DOE investments, made with a Justice40 focus, in clean energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and the development of critical clean water infrastructure.
DOE is committed to combating structural racism and inequality within our nation’s energy system. The Energy Justice Dashboard (BETA) is a tool for academics, community leaders, scientists, policymakers, and DOE to collectively ensure our agency makes progress towards equity.
For information about the Energy Justice Dashboard (BETA) features and resources, please refer to the Energy Justice Dashboard (BETA) Resource Area found at the bottom of the Dashboard.
DOE Contract Data is from the US Department of Energy. Data is of the December 22, 2023 accounting cycle. Retrieved January 31, 2024.
Minority Serving Institution (MSI) status is from the US Department of Education, 2020 Eligibility Matrix. Retrieved May 18, 2021. The MSI field indicates postsecondary institutions mapped to the US Department of Education eligibility codes 5 & 6.
Energy Burden Data is from the US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool - 2018 Update. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
Environmental and Demographic Indicators are from the US Environmental Protection Agency. 2020 version. EJSCREEN. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
US Census Tract boundaries are 2010 vintage. Retrieved from TIGER/Line Shapefiles.
COVID-19 Data is from the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Provisional COVID-19 Death Counts in the United States by County. Retrieved June 21st, 2023.
Shapefiles of Tribal Land boundaries identified in 2021. Tribal Lands Shapefile 2021. Retrieved March 22nd, 2022.
Shapefiles of US Territories and Disadvantaged Communities (DACs) as defined by the Department of Energy. US Territories and DACs Shapefile. Retrieved March 22nd, 2022
Disadvantaged Community (DAC) Data for census tracts and territories, including descriptions of the variables and key of the shapefile names. DAC Data for Census Tracts and Territories. Retrieved March 22nd, 2022.