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Non-Profit in St. Croix Receives Environmental Justice Grant From EPA

Release Date: 12/10/1998
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(#98167) St. Thomas, USVI -- Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox announced an Environmental Justice grant of $20,000 to the St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA) to address issues of environmental justice in the island's Machuchal area. Jeanne M. Fox presented SEA with a symbolic grant check at an event at the University of the Virgin Islands campus in St. Thomas.

"Environmental Justice" is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Working in partnership with groups like SEA, EPA hopes to raise residents' awareness of the environmental burdens that may exist unfairly in their communities due to their backgrounds and/or economic status.

"Preservation of the environment and human health should be a priority in every neighborhood," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "While we seek to preserve the landscapes and ecosystems of the U.S. Virgin Islands, we must address the needs of the lower-income and minority communities that have traditionally borne the brunt of environmental pollution. This EPA Environmental Justice grant will give residents tools to ease this environmental burden and prevent threats to their health."

With the $20,000 EPA grant, the St. Croix Environmental Association will provide residents of Machuchal with information about potential public health risks from the day-to-day operations of a nearby oil refinery owned by Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corporation. SEA will teach residents about toxic pollution and how to minimize their exposure to these toxins, and will help the community develop an emergency response plan in the event of a major environmental incident.

EPA's environmental justice program was created in response to a 1992 agency report that found that minority and low-income populations may experience higher than average exposure to pollutants and may be disproportionately affected by environmental problems. In 1993 the agency created the Office of Environmental Justice and the Small Grants Program in an effort to address, and, whenever possible, alleviate certain communities' environmental burdens.

For more information contact:
Jim Casey, Virgin Islands Coordinator
EPA Region 2
Federal Bldg., 3rd House
550 Veterans Drive, Room 142
St. Thomas, USVI 00802 Voice: 340-714-2333 FAX: 340-714-2331 E-Mail: