Regional and Local Perspectives related to Cumulative Impacts

May 17, 2024  
12:00 pm
- 1:15 pm

Watch the Recording  

Background Chemical and non-chemical stressors are not evenly distributed in an environment, nor do they operate in isolation. Similarly, people are not exposed to one stressor at a time, but rather are subject to multiple types of stressors from the natural, built, and social environments simultaneously. Cumulative impacts research that focuses on the totality of exposures (both beneficial and adverse) from such stressors on health and well-being is needed in order to address the overlapping environmental and social burdens experienced by many communities, including historically marginalized communities. Cumulative Impact Assessment has also recently been highlighted as a priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its efforts to better serve these communities. However, there is no standardized guidance or design for assessing the cumulative impacts of chemical and non-chemical stressors on health. Many templates or guidance documents are agency, regulation, or sector specific. Within the context of unconventional oil and gas (UOGD) development research, HEI Energy is well-positioned to synthesize what is already known from HEI Energy’s currently funded research and what has been learned about the adverse and beneficial impacts on communities over the past two decades to produce a Cumulative Impact Assessment design for a representative oil and gas community in the United States. Such a design could also serve as a model for similar analyses in other communities affected by the energy transition (e.g., hydrogen hub communities).

About the Webinar Series This webinar series is being co-organized by HEI’s Environmental Justice program and Energy Research Program as part of a special project: Designing a Cumulative Impact Assessment for an Oil and Gas Community in the United States. This series of webinars will inform the conceptualization of the design for oil and gas communities and aims to bring together voices from academia, government, industry, and communities across the field of impact assessment.

The primary objectives of the special project are as follows:
1. Synthesize what is known about unconventional oil and gas development exposures and health and well-being.
2. Support decision-making about how best to ensure the protection of public health by identifying the most important health stressors.
3. Learn from our collective experience in oil and gas communities to protect future energy communities.
4. Inform policymakers, communities, researchers, and others implementing cumulative impact assessments on specific methodologies.
5. Educate on cumulative impacts research.


Overview of the Webinar This webinar highlighted projects that exemplify elements of cumulative impact assessment that have been implemented across different geographic scales with various specific objectives. The projects help to illustrate what has been learned by recent efforts to understand cumulative impacts, and highlight the opportunities and challenges in formulating and conducting these types of analyses. 
The speakers addressed the following questions:
1. In what context was your assessment of cumulative impacts or risks conducted and to support what types of decisions?
2. How did you go about conceptualizing or designing your project? What types of chemical or non-chemical health stressors did you consider? Were social and economic stressors considered?
3. What data sources or methods did you identify for your project? Were they useful for assessing impacts either qualitatively or quantitatively? 
4. How has community engagement factored into these assessments? What lessons can be learned from those efforts?
5. How can the findings and lessons from these projects be used to inform policy or address the stressors identified in the assessment?
6. What contextual factors do we need to understand in order to construct a meaningful and impactful cumulative impact assessment design that best protects public health?


Thank you to all who attended! The webinar recording and slides are now available.


Welcome and Introduction

Stephanie Malin, Colorado State University, Special Panel member - Designing a Cumulative Impact Assessment for an Oil and Gas Community in the United States: Challenges, and Opportunities

Study of Neighborhood Air near Petroleum Sources Lost Hills Draft Report: Cumulative Health Risk Assessment Overview

Leona Scanlan, California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)

Metlakatla Cumulative Effects Management Program: Methods, Results, and Future Direction of a First Nation-led CEM Program

Katerina Kwon, Simon Fraser University

To learn more visit:

Discussion with Q&A

All Speakers; moderated by Stephanie Malin, Colorado State University

Wrap Up

Stephanie Malin, Colorado State University


United States

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