What Are Sacrifice Zones?

Sacrifice zones are commonly characterized as communities in proximity to pollution produced by intensive and concentrated industry. Due to redlining, low property values, and other social factors, these communities have historically consisted of low income and/or minority populations.

Current federal air policies regulate facility emissions one stack at a time and one chemical at a time. Impacted communities, however, are exposed to the cumulative impact of multiple pollutants released over an extended period of time from a cluster of facilities.

The Campaign

graphic-logoNMSZAfter conducting extensive research on sacrifice zone community case studies and current and past environmental policies, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice is proposing new regulatory policies for limiting air emissions in sacrifice zone communities to promote the equal protection of all residents regardless of race and income. This policy proposal is aimed at regulating air contaminants, increasing transparency between companies, governmental organizations and local citizens, and educating the public on and actively addressing the possible health effects of living adjacent to intensive, concentrated industry. Although there are many sources of pollution that burden marginalized communities (i.e. water pollution, land pollution, etc.), this policy focuses only on air emissions as a starting point to address sacrifice zones.

No More Sacrifice Zone Resources

A Proposal for New Regulatory Policies in Sacrifice Zones Presentation (English)

A Proposal for New Regulatory Policies in Sacrifice Zones Presentation (Spanish)

Database Instructions Guide

As explained in the provided resources above, the No More Sacrifice Zone Policy Proposal uses the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool to determine if a community qualifies as a Sacrifice Zone. More details on this qualification can be found in the “Proposal for New Regulatory Policies in Sacrifice Zones Presentation (English).” Further instructions on how to use the EJSCREEN can be found in the “Database Instructions Guide.” Please feel free to lookup your community and explore all of the functions of the EJSCREEN. For further questions on how to use the EJSCREEN beyond its function for the No More Sacrifice Zones Policy Proposal please use the “help” option on the EJSCREEN mapping web page.

EPA’s EJSCREEN and Mapping Tool

Community Meetings

The Center for Health, Environment & Justice is conducting conversational meetings in communities across the country to discuss ideas and foster support for a No More Sacrifice Zones Policy. At each meeting, CHEJ presents the Proposal for New Regulatory Policies in Sacrifice Zones Presentation and distributes all No More Sacrifice Zones resources. The floor is then open for questions, commentary and suggestions on the policy proposal to gather community insight on the type of policy residents of polluted zones would like enforced.

Are you interested in hosting your own community meeting?

Please contact us by sending your email below to receive more information on how to host a No More Sacrifice Zones conversational meeting in your community.

Provided resources include:

  • An Introductory Sacrifice Zone Meeting Packet
  • A Proposal for New Regulatory Policies in Sacrifice Zones Presentation (English) with notes
  • A No More Sacrifice Zones Policy Proposal Summary
  • Breakout Group Discussion Questions

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Toxic Chemicals

Climate Change

Healthy Neighborhoods

View Community Stories

Communities across the country suffer from the overburden of toxic air pollution from industry. Read the stories of community leaders fighting in Sacrifice Zones.

Emma Lockridge

Marathon Petroleum Corporation, LP., Detroit, Michigan

Charlie Powell

PANIC, Birmingham, Alabama


Houston, Texas