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EPA Awards South Carolina $160,000 for Environmental Justice Projects

Release Date: 12/02/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Dec. 2, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $160,000 to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to support state efforts to work with communities and address environmental and public health issues. The funding is part of $800,000 that was awarded to five state agencies nationally to support environmental justice work, and will help address concerns in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental risks.

“These EPA awards are designed to help state agencies integrate environmental justice considerations into their programs, policies and activities,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Stan Meiburg. “DHEC will be able to use its award to broaden the scope and depth of South Carolina’s environmental justice work and initiate more community-based projects in vulnerable areas.”

DHEC will use the award to offer technical assistance to communities through a pilot program to conduct environmental assessments and address environmental issues using the collaborative problem-solving model. DHEC plans to identify and fund four community-driven pilot projects within the state. The goals of the pilot projects are to both build community capacity, and leverage federal and state resources, to address the environmental and social justice concerns. The state of South Carolina previously established an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, which consists of 13 state agencies and other partners, and will solicit needed resources from the committee to support the pilot projects.

Nationally, the following additional state agencies received $160,000 each for the projects described below:

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for developing a system to ensure the participation of Alaska Native tribal organizations in the state permitting process.

California Department of Toxic Substances Control for creating and implementing public education programs, developing compliance assistance programs for small businesses, and focusing on generating green jobs in communities identified as having environmental justice concerns.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for conducting community outreach on residential lead paint contamination and proper handling and abatement throughout the City of East St. Louis.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for providing remediation and education to reduce community exposure to air pollution and solid waste.

EPA provides funding for state-lead environmental justice projects under the agency’s State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement program with the goal of developing approaches that can be replicated in other communities with similar concerns.

Information about state funding through the State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement program: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-sejca-grants.html

Information about funding for local governments and non-profit organizations through the Environmental Justice Small Grants program: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html