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EPA Awards Environmental Justice Grant to Reduce Diesel Emissions in CT

Release Date: 11/02/2001
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008) Mark Mitchell, CCEJ (860-548-1133)

BOSTON - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that a Connecticut organization was awarded a $75,000 environmental justice grant to reduce the impact of diesel buses on public health in three Connecticut cities.

The Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice will use the grant to support its Diesel Information and Education Simply to Extend Life (DIESEL) Bus Project. The project will address the disproportionate amount of diesel bus emissions that low-income, minority, elderly and school-aged children are exposed to in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven. The grant is from EPA's Environmental Justice Through Pollution Prevention Grant program, an initiative to help small businesses prevent pollution and foster partnerships between industrial facilities and communities.

"EPA's environmental justice grants are an important tool to help ensure that all New Englanders are equally protected from environmental hazards," said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "This grant to Connecticut will help address the serious diesel emission problem that residents are living with in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven."

CCEJ will develop a community, business, and governmental coalition that will encourage small public and private bus companies to reduce emissions by purchasing new alternative fuel vehicles and retrofitting older diesel bus engines. The coalition will also advocate for cleaner bus requirements in public agency contracts and for a demonstration project to use all clean fuel buses along the proposed Hartford/New Britain busway.

CCEJ was among eight community groups in New England receiving a total of $175,000 in Environmental Justice grants. The other grants announced today were given out as part of EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants program, which was launched in 1994 to help ensure equal environmental protection and equal enforcement of environmental laws and policies for all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, culture or income.

The following grants were also awarded:

Maine

Maine Lead Action Project received $15,000 for its Healthy Children, Healthy Communities project. The group plans to partner with three coalitions in Houlton, Bath and Rumford to develop lead prevention and education intervention campaigns targeting low-income, high-risk population, with the ultimate goal of increasing the state-wide lead screening rate.

New Hampshire

The Way Home in Manchester received $15,000 for the Community Organizing for Environmentally Safe Housing project. The purpose of the project is to increase the city's stock of affordable lead-safe housing, and thereby reduce environmental hazards to children from low-income families.

Rhode Island

Groundwork Providence received $10,000 for its Environmental Education Outreach Program. The project was designed to help residents and community groups in Providence's racially diverse West End neighborhood to identify and assess environmental risks and pollution sources in the community, devise strategies for environmental improvement and provide education, information, and training on crucial environmental and public health issues, such as lead contamination, solid waste disposal, water pollution reduction, and recycling through workshops and multilingual brochures.

Massachusetts

Action for Boston Community Development in Boston received $15,000 for its Healthy Homes/Healthy Kids project. The project is an environmental justice outreach program that addresses both housing and health problems as inextricably linked issues. ABCD will coordinate educational outreach on housing and health concerns by hosting a community forum and producing relevant radio and community television programs.

Nuestra Comunidad Development Corp. in Roxbury received $15,000 for its Swifty Auto Mall Environmental Education and Prototype Project. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that the auto service industry can be both environmentally-friendly and economically viable. Auto mechanics in the Roxbury and surrounding areas who participate in the program will be introduced to relevant environmental laws, how to comply with the laws, and how to go beyond compliance.

The Food Project in Lincoln received $15,000 for the Urban Agriculture and Capacity Building project. Through this grant project participants will use an urban agriculture program to educate peer organizations and participants at local and regional conferences about the connections between healthy food, healthy land, and healthy communities. Some of the award will also be used to increase food production in the urban agricultural program by 30 percent.

Chelsea Human Services Collaborative in Chelsea received $15,000 for the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee's project to address severe truck traffic in the city. The committee plans to involve 750 people in its campaign to reduce traffic.