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EPA Announces Environmental Justice Grants for New England Organizations;Two Grants for Maine Will Focus on Lead Poisoning and Penobscot River

Release Date: 11/08/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced four grants totaling $70,000 that were awarded to community, tribal and non-profit groups throughout New England for projects promoting environmental justice. The grants, worth between $15,000 and $20,000, were awarded through the agency's Environmental Justice Small Grants program.

Two of the four grants were awarded to organizations in Maine – one for a lead remediation project in a Portland neighborhood, the second to address fish consumption and water quality issues of the Penobscot Indian Nation.

"EPA's environmental justice grants are an important tool for ensuring that all New Englanders are equally protected from environmental hazards," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "These two grants will result in specific activities to reduce pollution risks in the Portland area and along the Penobscot River."

The grants totaling $35,300 are as follows:

The Bayside Neighborhood Association in Portland received $20,000 for its "Lead Remediation in Urban Soils: A Community-Based Research Project" to perform lead analyses on urban residential soils in the Bayside neighborhood. The project will then explore phytoremediation techniques for extracting lead from the soils, and inform the public of the research results.

The Penobscot Indian Nation in Old Town received $15,300 for its project, "A Strategy for Controlling Toxics into the Penobscot Nation Reservation." The project will focus on fish consumption by tribal members and water pollution, including mercury, PCB and other pollutants in the Penobscot River. In enhancing and facilitating communication and information exchange between all stakeholders, the Nation intends to take a lead role in developing a strategic options plan to control sources of such pollutants.

The remaining grants were awarded to groups in Massachusetts and Maine.

The Mystic River Watershed Association in Arlington, MA received $19,700 for its Environmental Justice Across the Mystic (EJAM) project designed to raise awareness of EJ issues in the Mystic River watershed.

The Way Home in Manchester, NH received $15,000 for its Healthy Home Services Project focusing on the shortage of lead-free affordable housing in the city. The project plans to increase the number of environmentally safe housing units available to low income renters in the community, with a focus on reopening, with appropriate renovations, units closed due to lead paint hazards.

This year's grants were awarded under the agency's Environmental Justice Small Grants Program. The agency is now soliciting grant applications for 2003, with the application deadline being Dec. 18, 2002.

Groups eligible for the grants include community groups (community-based/grassroots organizations, churches or other nonprofit organizations with a focus on community-based issues) and federally recognized tribal governments that are working on projects to address environmental justice issues. Preferences for awards will be given to community-based/grassroots organizations working on local solutions to local environmental problems. A total of about $1.5 million of grants is available nationally, $1 million of which is available for Superfund projects only.

While all applications will be considered, EPA is emphasizing the availability of funds for research projects. Projects that are research-oriented and specific to hazardous substances will be considered under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, often referred to as the Superfund law. The maximum size of individual grants will be $20,000.

Grants of up to $15,000 also are being awarded for multimedia projects that address pollution in more than one environmental medium (air, water etc.)

To receive a copy of an application in both English and Spanish, contact EPA New England's regional Environmental Justice coordinator Kathleen Castanga at 617-918-1429 or Castanga.Kathleen@epa.gov. Copies of the grant guidance and other information can also be found at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej_smgrants.html