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Non-Profits in NYC Receive Environmental Justice Grants From EPA; Community Groups To Address Local Issues from Lead Paint to the Bronx Coastline

Release Date: 11/10/1998
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(#98155) New York, N.Y. -- Six non-profit groups in New York City have received U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants of approximately $20,000 each 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 communities in New York City including manufacturing and high traffic zones in Greenpoint- Williamsburg, Brooklyn, poor coastal water quality in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, and lead paint poisoning in northern Manhattan and the Bronx.

1998 Environmental Justice Small Grants to groups in New York City total $119,974.

1998 NYC ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE GRANT AWARDEES

Harlem Environmental Impact Project -- $20,000

This project seeks to expand HEIP's environmental justice outreach to develop a new intensified childhood lead poisoning prevention program. The program includes a monitoring initiative with a new computer data-base connected to some of HEIP's partner organizations, and a more comprehensive web site to disseminate information and educate members of this low-income community about vital environmental issues that impact them.

Hispanic American Educational Resources -- $19,998

The project will help community members in the Bronx and northern Manhattan identify environmental justice priorities through a series of five education/communication seminars. The group will also provide family day care providers with information on lead poisoning that they will convey and disseminate to parents, producing a multiplier effect.

New York City Environmental Justice Alliance -- $20,000

The waterfront communities of New York City such as the South Bronx and the Greenpoint-Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, encompass heavy manufacturing zones and are intersected by major transportation corridors that bring large volumes of diesel traffic through the community, adding to the pollution from the industrial plants, sludge treatment and solid waste processing facilities. The project will build community capacity to identify and redress the adverse environmental impacts of solid waste facilities; enhance community understanding of environmental laws and regulations, and help the participants access GIS data and generate information about mobile and stationary pollution sources in their community.

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation -- $20,000

These funds will be used to continue Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation's Lead Paint Poisoning Project, and to extend it by providing follow-up assistance for families that live in apartments where children are at risk of lead paint poisoning. The project goals include increasing the capacity of tenant association members to develop and implement activities to ameliorate the problems of lead poisoning in the community.

Save the Sound -- $19,988

Community stakeholders in the coastal area of the South Bronx are impacted by poor water quality and inequitable coastal management including a concentration of solid waste treatment facilities along its coastline. This group is working in partnership with the Bronx Council on Environmental Quality, the Long Island Sound Watershed Alliance, and the Point, a local community group. Together they will plan, implement, publicize, and evaluate activities that will increase public awareness of shoreline issues in the Hunts Point and SunView areas of the South Bronx, including solid waste treatment and recycling facilities, and water quality in the East River and Long Island Sound.

West Harlem Environmental Action -- $19,988

The goal of this project is to improve communication and coordination among all stakeholders by collecting and analyzing data from focus groups and interviews of persons representative of the Northern Manhattan community.


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