2000 News Releases
CASCO BAY PROJECT RECEIVES ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE GRANT FROM EPA
Release Date: 12/04/2000
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office (617-918-1014)
BOSTON - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced that the Casco Bay Estuary Project is among six community groups in New England receiving a total of $83,500 in Environmental Justice Small Grants.
The Casco Bay Estuary Project of the Muskie School of Public Service at University of Southern Maine received $20,000 for a project called, "Exposure of Asian and Low-Income Populations to Toxic Chemicals Through Subsistence Shellfishing in Casco Bay."
The purpose of this research project is to provide the first-ever available data on low income and ethnic populations in Casco Bay who are at risk because of subsistence shellfishing of polluted areas in the bay. Local shellfish officers have noticed subsistence shellfishing in closed clam and mussel bed areas. There is now no concrete information on who is eating the shellfish from polluted areas or what their rates of consumption are, therefore the health risks cannot be established.
"All people have a right to a clean and safe environment," said Mindy Lubber, EPA's Regional Administrator for New England. "EPA's environmental justice grants are about making sure that every community is able to tackle the environmental problems facing them. These two grants will help Casco Bay residents to do just that."
"We are very excited about this opportunity to couple our marine monitoring program with this pioneering research on the harvesting and consumption of shellfish by low income and ethnic minority populations in the Casco Bay watershed," said Katherine Groves, director of the Casco Bay Estuary Project.
EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants, first given out in 1994, are meant to help ensure equal environmental protection, and the equal enforcement of environmental laws, rules, regulations, and policies for all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, culture, or income.
The following grants were also awarded:
Nuestras Raices in Holyoke received $15,000 to train members of the community to conduct their own environmental health assessments and computer mapping. Four young adults, members of the Americorps, will be trained to conduct basic environmental and health assessments, computer mapping, and to educate the community. These young people will be trained by staff of Nuestras Raices and the University of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Sciences.
The Campaign to Protect Chinatown in Boston received $15,000 to educate residents on the effects of construction on pollution and to give them an understanding of local environmental justice problems. The goal of this project is to promote involvement and informed decision making by Chinatown residents in issues concerning their environment.
The Way Home of Manchester received $15,000 to educate low-income and minority households in Manchester on environmental problems within the home, including lead contamination and asthma triggers. The Way Home's project will educate the community and help build coalitions among landlords, tenants, and city health and building department officials to protect children from environmental health hazards in the home.
Paddle Providence, Inc. of Providence received $15,000 to educate children and their families living along the Woonasquatucket River about safe uses of the river and health issues associated with the river. Paddle Providence will coordinate with the Providence Plan, Save the Bay, The National Parks Service and the Northern Rhode Island Conservation District to provide the education; the groups will also help youth and families living along the river to canoe and kayak on the river in order to form an appreciation for this natural resource.
Youth in Action of Providence received $3,500 for its Youth Environmental Technology Project, which will train 15 youth in computer mapping and its uses. They will be trained by computer mapping experts from the Providence Plan and the Urban Environmental Lab at Brown University. They will learn how to input data relating to environmental issues in their neighborhood, and how to use this data in simple forms to make it accessible to the community. They will then go door-to-door, explaining the information to area residents and compiling a list of residents who want to be more involved with advocacy efforts.