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EPA Funds Project to Reduce Environmental Risks in Camden

Release Date: 11/28/2006
Contact Information: Rich Cahill, (212) 637-3666 / cahill.richard@epa.gov

(New York, NY) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg was in Camden today to present Clean Air Communities (CAC) with a check for $250,000 to support its efforts to create and use collaborative partnerships to reduce environmental risks. Steinberg also met with state and local agencies that have joined together to help reduce exposure to pollution in the Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden, New Jersey. The funds were provided as part of EPA’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. CAC was chosen out of a field of 110 applicants nationwide in this second year of the CARE program.

“EPA’s CARE initiative is designed to help communities improve their local environment for residents and workers,” EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg explained. “This can best be accomplished when groups at the local level work together.”

Air pollution has been identified as a priority concern by the Waterfront South community. Using EPA funds, local groups will join government agencies in conducting educational outreach, continuing discussions between residents and local industries, and developing diesel emission reduction projects. EPA will provide technical assistance and support throughout the process.

The approximately 1,700 residents from more than 500 households in the Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden live among a heavy concentration of industries, ranging from scrap-handling facilities, Camden County’s municipal waste combustor and sewage treatment plant, and the world’s largest licorice processing plant. The neighborhood also sits between two busy urban ports owned and operated by the South Jersey Port Corporation. It has been estimated that as many as 77,000 trucks travel through the neighborhood to local industries in a year.

CAC, a non-profit organization and subsidiary of Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), is partnering with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC), Heart of Camden, the Camden County Municipal Utilities Association and South Camden Citizens in Action to carry out the project.

“This partnership among government, local businesses and community members will help reduce harmful diesel emissions and improve the quality of life for citizens in Camden’s Waterfront South neighborhood,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson.

“In their previous collaborative efforts, residents of the Waterfront South neighborhood clearly identified cleaning up diesel exhaust as a high priority,” CAC Director Debbi Edelstein said. “We are delighted to be partnering with EPA, NJDEP, and key community groups and institutions to address their concerns and to engage in further dialogue and projects to renew the environment and reduce the risks to public health.”

SJPC Executive Director Joseph A. Balzano observed, “We welcome all those taking part in this event and more importantly in this project to the Port of Camden. The Beckett Street and Broadway Terminals in our port are part of the city’s Waterfront South neighborhood and so SJPC is pleased to be able to make this contribution to the effort to better the environment for all those who live and work in this vital part of the City of Camden.”

“The Heart of Camden is pleased to be a community partner in yet another concrete step forward to improving air quality,” said Executive Director Helene Pierson.

The project will use educational outreach to help community groups fully understand local sources of air pollution, such as port operations, and to facilitate dialogues between residents and local industries. The project will also use the best available technology to retrofit diesel vehicles and equipment owned and operated by the South Jersey Port Corporation.

For more information, visit EPA’s Web site at http://www.epa.gov/care/

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