EPA is awarding approximately $800,000 in grants to organizations working with communities facing environmental justice challenges throughout the country, according to an agency press release. Forty grants, up to $20,000 each, are going to community-based organizations and local and tribal governments in 28 states for community projects aimed at addressing environmental and public health issues.

“These grants mark the beginning of a full-scale revitalization of what we do and how we think about environmental justice,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Environmental justice is not an issue we can afford to relegate to the margins. It has to be part of our thinking in every decision we make.”

Grant recipients will use the money to create healthy, sustainable communities through dozens of local projects aligned with Administrator Jackson’s top five priorities — improving air quality, managing chemical risks, cleaning up hazardous waste disposal sites, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting America’s water. The projects will address a variety of issues including:
  • educating youth about the harmful effects of toxic substances such as asbestos and lead paint in Chicago;
  • educating Albuquerque, N.M., residents and businesses on ways to properly dispose of hazardous waste;
  • conducting residential energy efficiency workshops and training in Kansas City, Mo., for Spanish-speaking communities;
  • identifying air pollutants from truck emissions and other sources at Port Newark in New Brunswick, N.J.;
  • ensuring that citizens of Barrow, Alaska, have a voice in the decision-making on local oil and gas development projects;
Financial assistance under the environmental justice small grants program is available to all non-profit organizations designated by the IRS or recognized by the state, territory, commonwealth or tribe in which it is located; city, township, county government and their entities; or federally recognized Native American tribal governments.

In the 15 years since initiating the environmental justice small grants program, EPA has awarded more than $20 million in funding to assist 1,130 community-based organizations and local and tribal governments.

For more information on the grants program:http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/index.html