WASHINGTON (EPA) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Oct. 15 that it is seeking applicants for a total of $1.5 million in environmental-justice small grants to be awarded in 2013. EPA’s environmental-justice efforts aim to ensure equal environmental and health protections for all Americans, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. The grants enable nonprofit organizations to conduct research, provide education and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in communities overburdened by harmful pollution. Grants are available for up to $30,000 each.
“Environmental-justice grants support efforts to raise awareness about local health and environmental concerns,” said Lisa Garcia, EPA’s senior adviser to the administrator for environmental justice. “By supporting local projects in under-served communities, communities are able to develop plans and partnerships that will continue to improve their local environment and better protect human health into the future.”
The 2013 grant solicitation is now open and will close on Jan. 7, 2013. Applicants must be incorporated nonprofits or tribal organizations working to educate, empower and enable their communities to understand and address local environmental and public health issues. EPA will host four pre-application teleconference calls on Oct. 30, 2012; Nov. 14, 2012; Dec. 1, 2012; and Dec. 13, 2012 to help applicants understand the requirements.
Previous grants have supported activities including projects to better protect children in the Boston-area from incidences of lead poisoning and asthma attacks, conduct research on air quality in a portside Philadelphia community and provide support to residents on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota to repair failing septic systems and identify water that is unsafe to drink.
The principles of environmental justice uphold the idea that all communities overburdened by pollution – particularly minority, low income and indigenous communities – deserve the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, equal access to the decision-making process and a healthy environment in which to live, learn and work. Since 1994, the environmental-justice small grants program has provided funding in more than 1,300 communities, to community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments working to address environmental justice issues. The grants represent EPA’s commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.