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North Charleston, S.C., Partnership Among Winners of EPA’s National Environmental Justice Achievement Awards

Release Date: 12/17/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Dec. 17, 2009) During a ceremony today in Charleston, S.C., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the partnership between the Mitigation Agreement Commission and the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities in North Charleston is among five winners of national Environmental Justice Achievement Awards.

"EPA is pleased to recognize this partnership for its exemplary work with the city of North Charleston and the South Carolina Ports Authority to foster environmental protection and economic revitalization in distressed neighborhoods," said EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Beverly Banister. “Model efforts like this show how a collaborative, problem-solving approach can result in healthier and more livable communities.”

The awards recognize partnerships for their distinguished accomplishments in addressing environmental justice issues, emphasizing collaborative work in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental and human health risks. Winning applications were reviewed and selected based on the six criteria, including innovation, public involvement and demonstrated results, by an independent, non-EPA review panel.

The partnership between the Mitigation Agreement Commission and the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities created a $4.08 million community plan for the city of North Charleston that will fund community, neighborhood and economic development projects in seven of the city’s most economically distressed neighborhoods. The partnership encourages open and meaningful dialogue between the neighborhoods it represents and elected officials, public agencies, planners and private developers to determine how best to minimize environmental and community impacts associated with the construction and operation of a new port. As a result of the partnership’s work, the Charleston port expansion project is the first to include both community and environmental programming as part of the formal mitigation plan. The partnership represents 14 organizations, including:

    Berkeley - Charleston – Dorchester Council of Governments
    Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
    City of North Charleston
    Clemson University Restoration Institute
    Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture, Clemson University
    Institute for Families in Society, University of South Carolina
    Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance
    Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities
    North Charleston City Council, District 10
    North Charleston Housing Authority
    South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
    South Carolina Department of Transportation
    South Carolina Employment Commission
    South Carolina State Ports Authority

The following partnerships also received awards:
    Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning for outstanding leadership in community-based efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning in the City of Rochester, New York.
    Fish Contamination Education Collaborative for outstanding efforts to reduce the consumption of contaminated fish by the local Vietnamese, Chinese, and angler populations near the Palos Verdes Shelf Superfund site, Los Angeles, California.
    ReGenesis Project for outstanding leadership and efforts to address environmental protection and community revitalization issues in the Arkwright community of Spartanburg, South Carolina.
    The Clean Trucks Program for outstanding efforts to significantly reduce air pollution from big truck rigs around Long Beach and Los Angeles, California port facilities.

Information on the EJ Achievement Award Program, including more details about this year's recipients: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/awards