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Bridgeport Selected as Environmental Justice Showcase Community

Release Date: 11/19/2009
Contact Information: Dave Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 19, 2009) – The City of Bridgeport, Conn. was selected by EPA as one of 10 communities nationwide to highlight ways to address environmental justice challenges. As part of this effort, EPA will commit an additional $100,000 in funding for projects in Bridgeport over the next two years.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that, under the initiative Bridgeport will be one of the national models for EPA’s commitment to environmental justice (EJ) efforts. Environmental justice refers to the disproportionate environmental burdens placed on low-income and minority communities.

Each of the selected Environmental Justice Showcase Communities will use collaborative, community-based approaches to improve public health and the environment. The EPA funding will help communities enact demonstration projects to test and share information on different approaches to address specific concerns for disproportionately burdened communities, thereby increasing EPA’s ability to achieve environmental results in these communities.

"The Bridgeport EJ Showcase Community Pilot will enhance our efforts to work in overburdened communities to achieve environmental and public health improvements," said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We will work closely with community stakeholders to address priority environmental and public issues facing the Bridgeport community.”

EPA selected Bridgeport for this effort to build on previous work to develop community capacity and engagement, identify a broad network of partnerships and connect with the goals of the city government. Using these previous efforts as a foundation, EPA will collaborate with a wide-range of stakeholders to develop projects focused on improving indoor air quality, increasing community capacity for green jobs, increasing recycling rates, and reducing asthma and toxics exposure.

City of Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch remarked: “We are honored to have been chosen by the EPA as one of its Environmental Justice Showcase communities. Since I’ve taken office, making Bridgeport a model of sustainability has been one of my highest priorities. Through our B-Green 2020 initiative, we are trying to change people’s behaviors, raise their awareness of the need to recycle and conserve energy, and teach them about stormwater diversion. We look forward to working with the EPA and the Environmental Justice staff to bring these projects to fruition in Bridgeport.”

One of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s goals has been to expand the conversation on environmentalism and give a voice to vulnerable groups that haven’t always been part of the broader national environmental discussion. Administrator Jackson said, “Our ten Showcase Communities will provide lessons for how we make every community a better place for people to live, for business to invest and bring jobs, and for opportunities to grow.”

The other nine locations will be the other Environmental Justice Showcase
Communities: Staten Island, N.Y., Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, Fla., Milwaukee, Wis., Port Arthur, Texas, Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan., Salt Lake City, Utah, Los Angeles Area Environmental Enforcement Collaborative, Calif., and Yakima, Wash.

More information on environmental justice and the
Environmental Justice Showcase Communities:
(
www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-showcase.html)

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