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Non-Profits in New Jersey Receive Environmental Justice Grants From EPA; Community Groups To Address Urban Issues from Lead Paint to Industrial Toxins

Release Date: 11/10/1998
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(#98154) New York, N.Y. -- Six non-profit groups in New Jersey have received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants totaling $101,488 to address issues of environmental justice in their communities, the agency announced today.

"Environmental Justice" is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Working in partnership with these six community-based groups, EPA hopes to raise residents' awareness of the environmental burdens that may exist unfairly in their communities due to their backgrounds and/or economic status.

"Preservation of the environment should not stop outside the city gates," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "While we seek to preserve our nation's open landscapes and ecosystems, we must address the needs of the lower-income and minority communities in our cities that have traditionally borne the brunt of environmental wrongdoing. These EPA Environmental Justice grants will give affected communities tools to ease this environmental burden and prevent further threats to residents' health."

In a 1992 report, EPA found that minority and low-income populations may experience higher than average exposure to pollutants and may be disproportionately affected by environmental problems. In 1993 the agency created the Office of Environmental Justice and the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program in an effort to address, and, whenever possible, alleviate particular communities' environmental burdens.

The small grants awarded this year address a wide range of issues facing cities in New Jersey including brownfields in Trenton and the North Ward section of Newark, lead paint poisoning of children, and industrial toxins used by facilities in the East Ward section of Newark.

NEW JERSEY 1998 ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE SMALL GRANT AWARDEES

Citizen Policy and Education Fund of NJ (statewide) -- $20,000

This pilot program will examine and implement innovative ways to improve enforcement of lead paint abatement laws. The organization's goal is to involve tenants -- particularly the parents of lead-poisoned children -- and community leaders in a campaign to educate landlords of lead-poisoned properties about their abatement responsibilities and the availability of low cost loans for lead abatement.

The Environmentors (Trenton) -- $20,000

This project will match inner-city high school students with science and environmental professionals to work together over 8 months on environmental research projects. Forty students from Trenton High School -- one of New Jersey's most under served schools -- will address environmental problems affecting their community's health and well-being.

INFORM (Newark) -- $20,000

Through their partnership with the Rutgers University Environmental Law Clinic, INFORM aims to work with local environmental justice groups in the East Ward section of Newark to reduce residents' potential exposure to industrial toxic chemicals by encouraging industrial facilities operating in those communities to use more environmentally safe materials and processes. They seek to enhance community understanding of environmental and public health issues through better use and interpretation of information available under the NJRTK Act.

Ironbound Community Corporation (Newark) -- $17,488

The Ironbound Community Information, Education and Training Project is aimed at the 45,000 people who live in the industrial Ironbound section of Newark. The project will continue ICC's environmental justice work in the community including promoting timely and effective remediation of parks, recreational facilities, Superfund sites, and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Known Contaminated Sites.

Isles Inc. (Trenton) -- $20,000

Isles' Urban Brownfields Project will identify and facilitate communication among all parties affected by the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites in Trenton, NJ. The project also proposes to educate citizens about environmental justice issues in their community and develop methods for including the voices of low-income minority citizens in the clean-up of industrial sites.

New Jersey Environmental Law Center (Newark) -- $4,000

In cooperation with the Rutgers Law Clinic and La Casa de Don Pedro, the Environmental Law Center of New Jersey will assist residents of the Enterprise Community in the North Ward of Newark to become familiar with environmental protective measures related to brownfields and Superfund site remediation standards.


For more information contact:
Nina Habib Spencer, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3670 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: habib.nina@epamail.epa.gov