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EPA Awards Nearly $100,000 in Environmental Justice Grants to California Projects / Organizations focus on environmental issues in Los Angeles, Central California

Release Date: 12/08/11
Contact Information: Nahal Mogharabi, mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov

(San Francisco) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $99,988 in grants to organizations in Los Angeles, Riverside, Kettleman City, and the San Joaquin Valley for projects focused on reducing exposure of toxins, diesel education and drinking water improvements. 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.

“Community-based action and participation in environmental decision-making are critical to building healthy and sustainable communities,” said Lisa Garcia, EPA’s senior advisor to the administrator for environmental justice. “By supporting local environmental justice projects in under-served communities, we are expanding the conversation on environmentalism and advancing environmental justice in communities across the nation.”

In 2011 the EPA awarded more than $1 million in grants to 46 non-profit and tribal organizations working to address environmental justice issues nationwide. EPA’s environmental justice efforts aim to ensure equal environmental and health protections for all Americans, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. This year’s California grants include the following:

Community Services Unlimited, Inc
Project:
Growing Healthy: Reducing Exposure to Toxins in our Community
Grant Amount: $24,988
Location: South Central Los Angeles
Growing Healthy: Reducing Exposure to Toxins in our Community aims to teach youth in South Central Los Angeles about sustainable urban agriculture techniques, and engage them in teaching other youth and adults in the community about the benefits of adopting healthy eating habits, methods used to reduce exposure to toxins, and ways to mitigate climate change. Through teaching students how to grow food organically the project will increase community residents’ access to healthy fresh produce while also raising awareness about, and reducing exposure to lead and pesticide hazards.

Center for Community Action & Environmental Justice
Project:
Engaging Schools in Addressing Indoor Air Pollution
Grant Amount: $25,000
Location: Riverside and San Bernardino Counties
Engaging Schools in Addressing Indoor Air Pollution will educate students and teachers about the basis of indoor air quality and establishing ongoing reduction of asthma triggers in classrooms.

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
Project:
Kings County Diesel Education, Emission Reduction and Environmental Health
Grant Amount: $25,000
Location: Kettleman City and Avenal Kings County, California

Kings County Diesel Education, Emission Reduction and Environmental Health aims to reduce diesel emissions impacting the air quality of Kettleman City and Avenal and create a replicable diesel education and emissions program model that can be spread to other San Joaquin Valley communities impacted by diesel pollution. Greenaction will conduct community outreach to educate stakeholders (including community members, businesses, truckers and trucking companies, schools, bus drivers and parents) on diesel issues impacting their community, implement behavior changes (complying with anti-idling laws), and encourage equipment changes that will lead to a reduction of emissions and improve residents’ respiratory health. The project hopes to inform at least 1,000 residents, 75 drivers, 10-20 businesses and 3 school administrators about the diesel emissions issues impacting their community.

Community Water Center
Project:
Protecting Groundwater from the Ground UP
Grant Amount: $25,000
Location: San Joaquin Valley, CA (Tulare, Kern, Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus)
Protecting Groundwater from the Ground Up project aims to educate select disadvantaged rural communities in the San Joaquin Valley of California about the causes and effects of drinking water pollution in their communities, and empower affected residents to take specific actions to reduce and prevent contamination of the region’s drinking water sources in the future. The project will provide technical assistance to residents facing water challenges, utilize various strategies to reach and educate residents about the pervasive lack of safe drinking water, provide water quality trainings to residents who want to become more engaged in San Joaquin Valley drinking water protection efforts, and facilitate the direct participation of residents in various types of public venues where water quality decisions are made.

EPA also announced it is seeking applicants for $1 million in environmental justice small grants expected to be awarded in 2012. The 2012 grant solicitation will close on February 29, 2012.

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