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EPA Awards Six Environmental Justice Grants in the Southeast / Also announces solicitation for 2012 grants

Release Date: 12/09/2011
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

ATLANTA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it awarded more than $1 million in grants to 46 non-profit and tribal organizations working to address environmental justice issues nationwide. Six of those 46 were awarded organizations in the Southeast.

Organizations receiving grants in the Southeast include:

Mobile Bay Keeper Inc. (Mobile, AL) will train property owners, business owners, and others who live and work along Alabama’s 670 miles of tidally influenced shoreline to identify and report impacts from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and other coastal threats become engaged in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process and understand the importance of coastal restoration.

Institute for Community Collaboration (Hollywood, FL) seeks to empower and engage underserved teens from low-income neighborhoods as environmental and “food justice” advocates. Youth who complete the 12-week afterschool training will implement a service learning project in their schools or community in an effort to create and maintain local, healthy food resources.

Suwanee River Area Health Education Center (Gainesville, FL) will assist 300 low-income residents in Gainesville, Florida to address elevated levels of dioxin and arsenic in their neighborhood.

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (Burke County, GA) will empower Burke County citizens by increasing their involvement in creating solutions for environmental and public health issues in the community.

Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (Warsaw, NC) will detect, assess, and evaluate arsenic concentrations in surface water located near swine lagoons and spray fields. The project seeks to enhance community knowledge of toxicity indicators in animal waste and provide information on the impact of water quality as it relates to swine and public health.

Protect Gainesville Citizens (Gainesville, FL) will research exposures to contaminated house dust and explore methods to reduce its impact on public health.

EPA also announced it is seeking applicants for $1 million in environmental justice small grants expected to be awarded in 2012. EPA’s environmental justice efforts aim to ensure equal environmental and health protections for all Americans, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. The grants enable non-profit organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in communities overburdened by harmful pollution.

The 2011 grants support activities including projects to protect children in the Boston-area from lead poisoning and asthma, conduct research on air quality in a portside Philadelphia community, and provide support to residents on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota to repair failing septic systems and identify water that is unsafe to drink.

The 2012 grant solicitation is now open and will close on February 29, 2012. Applicants must be incorporated non-profits or tribal organizations working to educate, empower and enable their communities to understand and address local environmental and public health issues. EPA will host four pre-application teleconference calls on December 15, 2011, January 12, 2012, February 1, 2012 and February 15, 2012 to help applicants understand the requirements.

Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process. Since 1994, the environmental justice small grants program has provided more than $23 million in funding to community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments working to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,200 communities. The grants represent EPA’s commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.

More information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants program and a list of grantees:
http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html

Environment Justice Small Grants 2012 Request for Proposals and schedule of pre-application teleconference calls:
http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publications/grants/ej-smgrants-rfp-2012.pdf