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San Diego-Based Lead Task Force Receives National Recognition, U.S. EPA Environmental Justice Award

Release Date: 12/15/2010
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan Perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov 415-947-4149

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, EPA recognized partnerships in San Diego, San Francisco, Puerto Rico, Oregon and Minneapolis for their contributions to advancing environmental justice in communities. EPA's National Achievements in Environmental Justice Awards Program recognizes partnerships that address local environmental justice concerns and result in positive environmental and human health benefits in communities.

The goal of the agency’s National Achievements in Environmental Justice Awards is to encourage communities to form partnerships, work together to solve problems, identify and take actions that directly benefit the community residents, and document successful activities that can be used in other communities to address significant environmental justice concerns.

"Environmental justice is a key priority for our Region, and we applaud the efforts of our California award winners to improve their overburdened communities from the ground up," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Their focus on educating citizens about local environmental challenges demonstrates the power of collaboration and partnership."

“The recipients of this year’s environmental justice awards have developed projects that empower communities to participate in environmental decision-making and serve as models for other communities working to address environmental justice concerns,” said Lisa Garcia, senior advisor to the administrator and associate assistant administrator for environmental justice. “These partnerships help advance efforts to make our communities healthier and economically and environmentally sustainable.”

The 2010 awardees are:

Lead Poisoning Prevention Citizen’s Advisory Task Force, San Diego, Calif.—for empowering communities to conduct lead hazard control work in environmental justice communities and ensuring the protection of children from the threat of lead-based paint and dust.

As a result of training to address concerns about lead poisoning, residents have become advocates and spokespersons for their community, thanks to the Lead Poisoning Prevention Citizen’s Advisory Task Force, whose purpose is to reduce exposure to lead in low-income communities of color in San Diego. Community residents also participated in the effort to draft and secure adoption by the City of San Diego of the Children’s Right to Lead-Safety Housing Ordinance. This is the first ordinance in San Diego that did not originate from City staff. The March 2008 ordinance ensures that children living in pre-1978 renter and owner-occupied homes are protected from dangers of lead-based paint and dust. It also requires lead-safe work practices.

Since the adoption of the ordinance, more than $18 million in funding has been attracted by the Task Force to educate residents and conduct lead hazard control work in the City of San Diego. More than 160 children under the age of 6 and living in low-income communities of color have been tested for lead in their blood. More than 800 homes have been made lead-safe. The Task Force also was able to secure funds for training and certifying workers in lead remediation and
lead-safe work practices. Furthermore, members of the Task Force serve as an ordinance compliance watchdog committee.

The Task Force plans to work with other California communities to replicate this successful model.

EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park Partnership, San Francisco, Calif.— for creating an environmental justice education center for use by the residents San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point and other communities with environmental justice concerns.

ENLACE Caño Martín Peña, San Juan, Puerto Rico—for establishing and implementing a land use and comprehensive development plan to improve social, economic, and environmental conditions for eight communities in the Caño Martín Peña Special Planning District.

Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force, across Oregon—for effective implementation of the state’s environmental justice legislation and its ability to incorporate environmental justice considerations into state agency programs.

Transportation Equity/Stops for Us Coalition, St. Paul, Minn.—for its efforts to form a broad-based partnership to secure the construction of three new light rail transit stations, which will provide access for the transit dependent communities of East University Avenue, connecting residents to housing, jobs, education and the many amenities located throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan region.

More information on the National Achievements in Environmental Justice Awards: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/awards/index.html