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New York City Non-Profits Receive Grants to Address Environmental Justice Concerns

Release Date: 11/16/2000
Contact Information:
(#00211) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted $30,000 to two non-profit groups in New York City to help them address environmental justice issues in their communities. The grants will benefit communities in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin or income, in how the nation’s environmental laws are developed, complied with and enforced.

The grant recipients in New York City are:

El Puente de Williamsburg –Funding Awarded: $15,000

El Puente’s Eco-Lab project will involve young Latinos in Williamsburg in understanding environmental hazards in the community, identifying solutions, and developing creative tools to promote environmental justice among their peers and other community residents. One of the primary issues that the project will focus on is solid waste management (garbage trucks, waste generation, recycling). Another key environmental justice issue to be addressed is how communities can gain access to information and opportunities for participation in environmental decision-making. El Puente emphasizes that in a bilingual community where residents do not always understand the statistics connecting air pollution with asthma prevalence, it is important to develop creative communication mechanisms to engage people in discussing possible solutions and priorities for action.

Council on the Environment – Funding Awarded: $15,000

The Council on the Environment of New York City will use this grant to support its Greenpoint-Williamsburg Environmental Education Project during the 2000/01 school year are: The group will focus on two environmental justice issues: (1) the prevalence of environmentally related public health issues in minority/low income communities, and (2) the process through which environmental information is made available in these communities. Students participating in the project will monitor air pollution throughout the community focusing, in particular, on diesel bus and truck traffic. Results from the air monitoring will be made available to the community.

In its 1992 Report, Environmental Equity: Reducing Risk for All Communities, EPA found that minority and low-income populations may experience higher than average exposure to toxic pollutants than the general population. In response, EPA established the Office of Environmental Justice in 1992 to help these communities identify and assess sources of pollution in their midst, and to inform and train residents so they can be involved in making environmental improvements in their neighborhoods.