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EPA celebrates 15 years of environmental justice grants; awards $20,000 for project in Milwaukee

Release Date: 03/26/2009
Contact Information: Kären Thompson, 312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA44

CHICAGO (March 25, 2009) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has awarded the city of Milwaukee a grant for $20,000 for an environmental justice project involving water pollution.

The 2009 Wisconsin grant will raise awareness of how actions affect storm water runoff and water pollution. The training will be provided in English, Spanish, Hmong and Lao languages by peer educators at local schools, and neighborhood and faith-based organization meetings.
EPA recognizes minority or low-income communities may be disproportionately exposed to comparatively high levels of pollution and health risks. The Agency's Environmental Justice program aims to help these populations by ensuring fair treatment and meaningful involvement for all affected parties in the environmental decision-making process.

Nationally EPA is awarding approximately $800,000 in grants to organizations working with communities facing environmental justice challenges throughout the country. Forty grants, up to $20,000 each, are going to community-based organizations and local and tribal governments in 28 states for community projects aimed at addressing environmental and public health issues.
"These grants mark the beginning of a full-scale revitalization of what we do and how we think about environmental justice," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Environmental justice is not an issue we can afford to relegate to the margins. It has to be part of our thinking in every decision we make."

Grant recipients will use the money to create healthy, sustainable communities through dozens of local projects aligned with Administrator Jackson's top five priorities-improving air quality, managing chemical risks, cleaning up hazardous-waste disposal sites, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting America's water.

In the 15 years since initiating the environmental justice small grants program, EPA has awarded more than $20 million in funding to assist 1,130 community-based organizations and local and tribal governments.

For more information on the grants program: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/enrivonnmentaljustice/index.html.

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