The grants enable the 40 organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority and low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced nearly $1.2 million in competitive grants selected for award to 40 nonprofit and tribal organizations working to address environmental justice (EJ) issues nationwide. The grants enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority and low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution. In addition to the 36 projects receiving funding from EPA's Office of Environmental Justice, the program is bolstered this year by the funding of four additional projects in Gulf Coast communities by the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program.
"EPA’s environmental justice grants help communities across the country understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks at the local level," said Matthew Tejada, director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice. "Addressing the impacts of climate change is a priority for EPA and the projects supported by this year’s grants will help communities prepare for and build resilience to localized climate impacts."
EPA's EJ Small Grants have been a foundational piece to the portfolios of many community organizations that have gone on to make a visible difference in their communities. The 2015 grants will help organizations in 22 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands carry out projects that will educate residents about environmental issues that may impact their health, collect data about local environmental conditions, and work collaboratively to address environmental justice issues in their communities. The grants support activities that not only address a range of community concerns, but also support activities that are educating and empowering youth and the next generation of environmental stewards. Specific grant projects will focus on reducing exposure to air pollutants from diesel exhaust, developing resilient sustainable agriculture, protecting farm workers from health impacts of pesticides and increasing community climate resiliency.
"We’re excited to have this critical support to further our EJ work,” said Juan Parras, director of the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.). “Funding for EJ groups can be hard to come by, and the support from the EPA will go a long way at the community level."
Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process. Since 1994, EPA’s environmental justice small grants program has supported projects to address environmental justice issues in nearly 1,500 communities. The grants represent EPA’s continued commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.