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Two Mass. Communities Share in National EPA Grant that Helps Protect Local Health and Environment

Release Date: 11/17/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 17, 2006) – Two Massachusetts organizations, one in Holyoke and one in Boston, were among 16 communities nationwide selected to share $2.7 million in EPA grants to solve local health and environmental issues.

The grant recipients are the “Nuestras Raices” program in Holyoke, and the Boston Public Health Commission’s “SAFE Shops” program. The two organizations were selected during a competitive grant application process. The grants, called “Community Action for a Renewed Environment” (CARE), are designed to help communities address a wide variety of environmental health issues in both rural and urban areas.

“EPA is empowering communities with the tools they need to address their local environmental challenges,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We hope these two Massachusetts groups will be able to make a real difference by delivering real environmental results.”

The CARE program is a community-based, community-driven program that builds partnerships to help the public understand and reduce toxic risks from numerous sources. There are two types of CARE cooperative agreements. The smaller Level I cooperative agreements are approximately $90,000 each and will help establish community-based partnerships dedicated to reducing toxics in local environments. Level II awards are larger – approximately $275,000 – and are designed to support communities like Boston that has established broad-based partnerships and has identified the priority toxic risks in the community. These communities are further along in the CARE process and are prepared to measure results, implement the risk reduction activities, and become self-sustaining.

The Massachusetts Level I grant recipient, Nuestras Raices, is receiving $99,848 to expand existing partnerships and create the Pioneer Valley/Hampden County Community Environmental Network to complete a community-based environmental health assessment and monitoring to better understand the cumulative toxic risks facing communities in the region over two years. Over thirty youth and adult leaders will be trained to conduct risk mapping of local environmental and public health hazards and conduct community air monitoring.

The Massachusetts Level II grant recipient, Boston Public Health Commission, will receive $219,544 in support of Boston’s “Safe Shop” project. The SAFE Shops program will work with the auto shop industry in Boston, made up of more than 700 auto shops located in diverse, low-income neighborhoods. The goal of the two year project is to measurably reduce the negative environmental and public health impacts by auto shops on workers and residents by reducing emissions of hazards materials and improving work practices.

More information: EPA's CARE Grants (epa.gov/care)

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