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Medical University of South Carolina Among Winners of EPA’s First Annual Environmental Justice Achievement Awards

Release Date: 10/21/2008
Contact Information: Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Oct. 21, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston is among 12 winners of its first annual Environmental Justice Achievement Awards during an award ceremony today in Atlanta. The awards recognize organizations for their distinguished accomplishments in addressing environmental justice issues, ranging from reducing children’s pesticide exposure in childcare facilities to helping hurricane-displaced communities address environmental contamination so they could return home.

"We all have a stake in ensuring that our air is cleaner, our water is purer, and our land is better protected," said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "These organizations are making a positive impact in their communities by promoting a clean and healthy environment for all people."

MUSC’s Public Information and Community Outreach initiative was recognized for applying environmental justice principles to promote and enhance community health. In 1999, MUSC, South Carolina State University and EPA collaborated on a national conference, “Environmental Justice: Strengthening the Bridge Between Economic Development and Sustainable Communities.” Since then, MUSC has organized and participated in hundreds of programs and initiatives that build upon this vision. Among these programs, following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, MUSC engaged hundreds of individuals from potentially vulnerable communities in South Carolina and Georgia in dialogues about disproportionate impacts from accidents and emergencies. Drawing from recommendations, questions and comments voiced during these dialogues, MUSC produced a report and television program called “A Moment’s Notice: Emergency Preparedness and Response.”

Other award recipients include representatives from community-based organizations; academic institutions; state and local governments; tribal governments and indigenous organizations; and non-governmental organizations and environmental groups.

The following organizations also received awards:

Anahola Homesteaders Council (Anahola, Kauai, HI)
Center for Environmental and Economic Justice (Biloxi, MS)
Citizens for Environmental Justice (Savannah, GA)
Communities for a Better Environment (Huntington Park, CA)
Dillard University, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (New Orleans, LA)
Duke University, Children’s Environmental Health Initiative (Durham, NC)
Negocio Verde Environmental Justice Task Force (County of San Diego, CA)
New Mexico Environment Department (Santa Fe, NM)
Safer Pest Control Project (Chicago, IL)
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (Columbia, SC)
West End Revitalization Association (Mebane, NC)

Information on the EJ Achievement Award Program, including more details about this year's recipients: epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/awards

Photo caption: (From left to right) Charles Lee, Director, EPA Office of Environmental Justice; Richard Moore, National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Chair; Robert Varney, EPA New England Regional Administrator; David Rivers, award recipient and Director of the Public Outreach and Information Section, Medical University of South Carolina; Granta Nakayama, EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA); Catherine McCabe, EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, OECA; and Russell Wright, Acting Deputy Regional Administrator, EPA Region 4.