The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced 12 organizations that will receive a total of $360,000 to help address environmental justice issues in their communities. Each of the organizations will receive $30,000.
The grants will enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education and training, and develop community-driven solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority, low-income, tribal, and rural communities.
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In New England, Groundwork Lawrence and its subsidiary Groundwork Southcoast of Massachusetts were selected for a project that will aim to address environmental justice issues in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The EPA-funded project to be conducted by Groundwork Southcoast’s Green Team is called “Building Community Environmental Justice Resiliency.” It will focus on working with disadvantaged youths to address food access, wildlife habitat, urban park space and restoring degraded areas, emergency and resiliency training, and community engagement.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said, “EPA works day in and day out to provide clean air, water and land, with a particular focus on environmental justice. These grants support the Trump Administration’s promise to provide critical investment in low-income and minority communities that have environmental justice concerns.”
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EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel said, “EPA is very pleased to fund a project in New Bedford. Disadvantaged communities are often disproportionately affected by environmental health risks, and this project is another example of how EPA is working to reverse that trend. Addressing environmental justice concerns is a priority for EPA, and we hope that this project will have long lasting benefits for New Bedford residents for years to come.”
Seven of the 12 grants selected, or almost 60%, will support communities with census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones – an economically-distressed community where new investment may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Most often, those who reside near these sites are low-income, minority, and disadvantaged Americans. By focusing resources on these areas, we can multiply the impact of the tax incentive and attract even more economic development to these areas.
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EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants program provides critical support to organizations that otherwise lack the funding and resources to address environmental challenges in underserved and overburdened communities.
This month, as part of its 50th anniversary commemoration, EPA is highlighting some of the key state, tribal, international, non-profit, and private sector partnerships that have helped our nation further its progress toward cleaner air, water, and land. As one example, EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice coordinates with multiple partners that include federal and local government, business and industry, and academia to help improve environmental and public health conditions of low-income and minority communities.
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