The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a total of $800,000 to five state government agencies to support state efforts to work with communities to address environmental and public health issues, such as childhood lead poisoning and exposure to air pollution. The funding will help address concerns in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental risks.
The following organizations received $160,000 each for the projects described below:
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for developing a system to ensure the participation of Alaska Native tribal organizations in the state permitting process.
California Department of Toxic Substances Control for creating and implementing public education programs, developing compliance assistance programs for small businesses, and focusing on generating green jobs in communities identified as having environmental justice concerns.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for conducting community outreach on residential lead paint contamination and proper handling and abatement throughout the City of East St. Louis.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for providing remediation and education to reduce community exposure to air pollution and solid waste.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for offering technical assistance to communities in a pilot program to conduct environmental assessments and address environmental issues using the collaborative problem-solving model.
EPA provides funding for state-lead environmental justice projects under the agency’s State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement program with the goal of developing approaches that can be replicated in other communities with similar concerns.
More Information about state funding through the State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement program
More Information about funding for local governments and non-profit organizations through the Environmental Justice Small Grants program
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
A new book from a University of Michigan professor explores how the centuries-old connections between racism and the environment in American cities.
"The Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s-1900s: Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change" was written by Dorceta Taylor, left, a professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment and director of an institute studying the issue of environmental justice its modern context. Duke University Press plans to release the book this month.
"The Environment and the People in American Cities" provides a sweeping and detailed examination of the evolution of American cities from Colonial New York and Boston to recent urban planning and labor reform efforts, outlining the rise of problems like overcrowding, pollution, poverty and epidemics and connecting them to systemic environmental racism and other forms of environmental inequities.
In its coverage of race, class and gender inequalities, the book includes a dimension missing from other academic books on environmental history. Professor Taylor adds to current research on the subject by exploring the emergence of elite reformers, the framing of environmental problems and the responses to perceived breakdowns in social order. By focusing specifically on cities, she offers important clues to understanding the evolution of American environmental activism.
Beyond the contribution to historical literature on the subject, Professor Taylor connects her findings to current issues in environmental policy. The book grew out of an undergraduate class on environmental politics Professor Taylor taught more than a decade ago. After finding no books or articles examining race, class or gender and the environment in a historical context, she decided to write her own. The project eventually grew into two books.
While all-male expeditions and solitary males who retreat to the woods for months or years at a time are idealized in many environmental history accounts, the urban activists receive no such acclaim or glory," she said, noting that female, working class and ethnic minorities were active in environmental activism and affairs. "In the city, the classes, races and genders interacted with each other to create a kind of environmentalism that was very fluid and dynamic.
Throughout her analysis, she connects social and environmental conflicts of the past to those of the present. She describes the displacement of people of color for the production of natural open space for the white and wealthy; the close proximity between garbage and communities of color in early America; the "cozy" relationship between middle-class environmentalists and the business community; and resistance to environmental inequalities from residents of marginal communities.
Friday, November 20, 2009
We the Citizens of Brockton Massachusetts live in an Environmental Justice Community that already has more than its fair share of pollution ----We have a wastewater treatment plant that is out of compliance and is emitting thousands oftons of pollution into our air with homes and schools and senior citizen housing within a 1/3 of a mile from this facility ---right next to this waste water treatment plant they are proposing to build a 350 megawatt fossil fuel power plant that will emit over a million tons of additional toxic pollution per year.
We already have a very high asthma and cancer rate in our City ---The power from this plant is not for Brockton---Southeastern Massachusetts is an exporter of power---All we will get is the pollution. ---The energy from this plant isn't needed now or for the foreseeable future -----We in Brockton Massachusetts need the Environmental Protection Agency to step up to the plate and help protect us from this Environmental Injustice.
Thank You for your time and attention
Taunton Daily Gazette
The Brockton Post
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
EPA has committed $1 million to an effort over the next two years to fund 10 selected Showcase Communities to use collaborative, community-based approaches to improve public health and the environment. EPA will provide $100,000 per project to help address concerns in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental risks. These demonstration projects will test and share information on different approaches to increase EPA’s ability to achieve environmental results in communities.
The following locations will serve as Environmental Justice Showcase Communities:
Bridgeport, Connecticut: EPA will build on work that has already taken place to develop community capacity and engagement, identify a broad network of partnerships, and connect with the goals of the city government.
Staten Island, New York: EPA will work with the North Shore of Staten Island, a former industrial community that now contains many abandoned, contaminated, and regulated properties along the waterfront. This neighborhood has seen an increase in the number of kids with elevated lead levels in their blood. EPA, in consultation with key communitymembers and state and local health agencies will develop acommunity-based health strategy for the area.
Washington, DC: EPA is building on its environmental justice work witha variety of partners, such as: the District Department of Environment; the District Department of Health; and, local recipients of Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving and Environmental Justice Small Grant awards.
Jacksonville, Florida: EPA will focus on improving environmental and public health outcomes in an area that consists of a predominantly low income and minority population. This area has a number of Superfund sites, brownfields, vacant and abandoned lots or other properties wherecontamination is suspected, and impacted waterways.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: EPA will work to further the redevelopment of the 30th Street Industrial Corridor. The corridor, a former rail line in thenorth-central part of the city, is home to low income communities ofcolor. This project seeks to improve the human, environmental and economic health of these neighborhoods by redeveloping brownfields alongthe corridor, implementing environmentally preferable storm watermanagement practices, and developing urban agriculture.
Port Arthur, Texas: EPA proposes a comprehensive, cross-media pilot project in Port Arthur, Texas, a racially and ethnically diversepopulation along the Gulf Coast of southeast Texas. This community was severely impacted as a result of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike.Through the EJ Showcase Project, EPA will work with partners tostrategically target additional work and supplement ongoing efforts.
Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas: EPA has identified 11neighborhoods in the metropolitan area that have many risk factorsincluding poor housing conditions and increased exposure toenvironmental hazards. EPA will conduct an assessment to identify specific sources of pollution and will work with neighborhood leaders toprioritize community concerns. Strategies to address these concerns willbe developed through these partnerships.
Salt Lake City, Utah: EPA has chosen six neighborhoods in central andwest Salt Lake City as the focus of a Children’s Environmental Healthand Environmental Justice initiative. The areas include Glendale, Jordan Meadows, Poplar Grove, Rose Park, State Fairpark and Westpointe. EPAselected the areas based on the presence of several environmental riskfactors and the community’s support and past participation in addressingenvironmental issues. The multi-agency initiative will seek to identifyand reduce children’s exposure to contaminants from multiple pathways.
Los Angeles, California: The densely populated communities closest to the I-710 freeway in Los Angeles County are severely impacted by pollution from goods movement and industrial activity. In a multi-year effort, a unique collaboration of federal, state and local governments and community organizations willwork together to improve the environmental and public health conditionsfor residents along this corridor. Partners will identify pollution sources of concern to the community, review agency data sources anddevelop action plans. One goal is to improve compliance withenvironmental laws by targeting inspections and enforcement at thestate, federal, and local levels to address community concerns.
Yakima, Washington: EPA will address multiple environmental home health stressors in the Latino and tribal communities in the Yakima Valley. Acoordinated effort between state, local, and non-profit partners will beused to address the range of exposures found in the community, with aprimary focus on reducing exposure through contaminated private well drinking water. This will be accomplished by assessing homes withcontaminated wells, providing “treatment at the tap” mitigation, andreducing pollution sources through available regulatory tools and bestmanagement practices.
Since 1994, EPA has provided more than $32 million in general funding to more than 1,100 community-based organizations.
More information on environmental justice and the Environmental Justice Showcase Communities
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Special Online Supplement To American Journal of Public Health: A Resource for the Public and Policy Makers
A new resource is available to those working for environmental and occupational justice. Appearing as a free online supplement to the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), the compilation of articles demonstrates the advancement and evolving sophistication of environmental and occupational justice work, and the use of community-based participatory research approaches over the past decade. The special online issue highlights various contributions of environmental and occupational justice projects across the country, including several supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The supplement was supported by the three federal partners and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
The supplement includes more than 30 research-based articles, editorials and commentaries from community, government and academic leaders in the field. The topics range from reducing pesticide exposures in farming communities to how community-based approaches in urban and rural areas have successfully improved public health outcomes for low socioeconomic status groups, children and immigrants.
The three federal agencies have been collaborating via the Environmental Justice: Partnerships for Communication program to combine resources and information to advance environmental justice, community-based participatory research and workplace safety. EPA will be hosting a symposium on the science of disproportionate environmental health impacts, planned for March 2010 in Washington, D.C. NIEHS, NIOSH, several other federal agencies and the American Public Health Association will be serving as co-sponsors.
For more information on the Environmental and Occupational Justice online supplement to the American Journal of Public Health
The Strengthening Environmental Justice Research and Decision making: A Symposium on the Science of Disproportionate Environmental health Impacts
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
November 17, 2009 Forum for Local Governments Being Held During Brownfields Conference in New Orleans, LA
EVENT: FORUM - "FEDERAL AND LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS - RESOURCES FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS"
LOCATION: MORIAL CONVENTION CENTER - ROOM - 225
DATE AND TIME: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009/ 1:00 - 2:30 PM
RSVP by THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12 TO: M. ARNITA HANNON, EPA'S OFFICE OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS
The session will feature a panel of presenters, including EPA's Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response Mathy Stanislaus, David Lloyd, Director of the Brownfields Program, Neelam Patel, EPA's Climate and Energy Local Program Office, Surabhi Shah, Director of EPA's Urban Waters Initiative, Adhir Kackar, EPA's Smart Growth Program, and Stephanie Owens, EPA's Director of Public Outreach. Melinda Downing, US Department of Energy's Environmental Justice Program Manager, will also join the panel. You will also hear from the White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs about the Administration's efforts to support partnerships and collaborations with local governments.
Monday, November 2, 2009
On October 28, 2009 the Request For Applications (RFA) was released announcing the availability of funds and solicitation of applications from eligible entities interested in participating the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program. The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program (EJSG), supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues.
This year the program is emphasizing the need to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change in communities with environmental justice concerns. There is a well-established scientific consensus that climate change will cause disproportionate impacts upon vulnerable populations. As stated in the Technical Support Document for the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act (April 2009), “Within settlements experiencing climate change, certain parts of the population may be especially vulnerable; these include the poor, the elderly, those already in poor health, the disabled, those living alone, those with limited rights and power (such as recent immigrants with limited English skills), and/or indigenous populations dependent on one or a few resources. Thus, the potential impacts of climate change raise environmental justice issues.” The goals of this focus on climate change are to recognize the critical role of grassroots efforts in helping shape strategies to avoid, lessen, or delay the risks and impacts associated with climate change; to decrease the number of under represented communities; and, to ensure equitable green economic development in ways that build healthy sustainable communities.
The EJSG continues to assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships to help them understand and address environmental and public health issues in their communities. Successful collaborative partnerships involve not only well-designed strategic plans to build, maintain and sustain the partnerships, but also to work towards addressing the local environmental and public health issues.
For questions contact Sheila Lewis