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EPA Awards Environmental Justice Grants to Help Philadelphia Communities

Release Date: 02/26/2014
Contact Information: Roy Seneca seneca.roy@epa.gov (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA (February 26, 2014) – In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Environmental Justice Executive Order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today highlighted three environmental justice grants in Philadelphia totaling $90,000 to assist overburdened low-income communities in developing solutions to local health and environmental issues.

“EPA’s mission is to protect public health and the environment for all people, no matter who you are or where you come from,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Our Environmental Justice Small Grants are helping to protect vulnerable communities in Philadelphia by equipping them with the know-how and tools to reduce air pollution, water pollution, and children’s exposure to lead.”

EPA is celebrating the 20th anniversary of President Clinton signing the Environmental Justice Executive Order on February 11, 1994. This order focuses federal attention on the environmental and human health effects of federal actions on minority and low-income populations with the goal to achieve environmental protection for all communities.

The grants announced today include $30,000 each to:

      JASTECH Development Services, Inc. to develop a community-based campaign to address toxic substances in local waterways in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia. Through public outreach and community cleanup projects, the organization is working to minimize residents’ exposure to poor water quality. A series of workshops will teach residents how to properly dispose of household chemicals and other toxic substances, recycling techniques and how to engage community leaders to participate in policy and decision making processes.

      The Clean Air Council to address public health concerns in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood where residents are disproportionately impacted by high levels of air pollution caused by a high volume of truck traffic, which can worsen asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Residents will participate in workshops and coalition building to develop policy solutions that will reduce harmful exposure to pollution from area factories, chemical processing facilities, ocean-going vessels, and heavy traffic from nearby Interstate 95.

      Concilio (Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia) to help reduce children’s exposure to lead poisoning in old, deteriorating homes. Through the use of culturally appropriate education materials, residents will receive education about preventing lead and carbon monoxide poisoning and fire safety planning.

Since 1994, EPA’s environmental justice small grants program has supported projects to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,400 communities. The grant awards represent EPA’s commitment to promoting community-based actions to address environmental justice issues.

These three grants are among 39 environmental justice grants totaling $1.1 million nationwide that EPA announced on Sept. 11, 2013. For a list of all grantees, visit: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publications/grants/ej-smgrants-recipients-2013.pdf

For more information about the dangers of lead poisoning, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/lead .
For more information about EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html .