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EPA celebrates 15 years of environmental justice grants; awards $39,906 for projects in Chicago

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA42

CHICAGO (March 25, 2009) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has awarded two grants totaling $39,906 for environmental justice projects in Chicago. The recipients are Metropolitan Tenants Association and People for Community Recovery.

Metropolitan Tenants Association, Chicago, will receive $19,940 to educate low-income individuals in rental buildings about lead poisoning, pests, pesticide use. Working with health professionals, the project will focus on education, inspection and abatement in 40-70 multiple-unit buildings, housing up to 1,000 renters.

People for Community Recovery, Chicago, will receive $19,966 for a project called "Environmental Justice through Education and Exploration." The organization will work with youth ages 14-18 in the predominantly African-American Altgeld Gardens public housing project on the harmful effects of environmental hazards in the air, water and water. The project will engage the community in local and national EJ issues and provide environmental job opportunities.
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 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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