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EPA Grant Engages Southwest Colorado Communities in Environmental Decision-Making

Release Date: 03/24/2009
Contact Information: Nancy Reish, 303-312-6040; Art Palomares, 303-312-6053; Laura Niles, 303-312-6281

(Denver, Colo. – March 24, 2009) A grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will help Silverton communities be better informed about environmental quality issues and become more active in environmental decision-making within those communities. The grant was awarded today under EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants program.

    "Colorado's minority and low-income communities need support as they develop the capacity to respond to human health and environmental issues," said Art Palomares, Director of EPA's Environmental Justice program in Denver. “This grant will encourage residents of southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico make better-informed environmental decisions on issues such as fish consumption advisories and outdoor activities for asthma-sufferers.”

    The Mountain Studies Institute of Silverton, Colo. received $20,000 from EPA for a project to educate, empower and facilitate the participation of communities in southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico that may be affected by air, water, and toxic pollution from oil and gas and energy production facilities. The Mountain Studies Institute and its partners will work to: 1) build community knowledge about ozone, mercury, and other environmental quality issues via youth-created radio announcements; reader friendly outreach materials; and air/water quality alerts in newspapers; 2) engage a broad range of stakeholders via an Air Quality Forum; and 3) empower and facilitate community participation by forming mercury and ozone advisory committees.

    EPA established the Environmental Justice Small Grants program in 1994 to support and empower communities that are working on local solutions to local environmental and/or public health issues. The grants are designed to assist recipients in building collaborative partnerships that will help them understand and address the environmental and/or public health issues in their communities.

    Information on the environmental justice grants: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html