WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it awarded more than $1 million in grants to 46 nonprofit and tribal organizations working to address environmental justice issues nationwide. EPA also announced it is seeking applicants for $1 million in environmental justice small grants expected to be awarded in 2012. 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.
“Community-based action and participation in environmental decision-making are critical to building healthy and sustainable communities,” said Lisa Garcia, EPA’s senior advisor to the administrator for environmental justice. “By supporting local environmental justice projects in under-served communities, we are expanding the conversation on environmentalism and advancing environmental justice in communities across the nation.”
The 2011 grants support activities including projects to protect children in the Boston-area from lead poisoning and asthma, 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 2012 grant solicitation is now open and will close on February 29, 2012. 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 December 15, 2011, January 12, 2012, February 1, 2012 and February 15, 2012 to help applicants understand the requirements.
Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process. Since 1994, the environmental justice small grants program has provided more than $23 million in funding to community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments working to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,200 communities. The grants represent EPA’s commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.