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EPA awards three California groups $60,000

Posted: March 26, 2009 7:28 p.m.
Updated: March 26, 2009 5:19 p.m.
 
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $60,000 in grants to three California organizations working with communities to tackle environmental justice challenges.

Nationally, the agency is awarding 40 grants in 28 states totaling approximately $800,000 to community-based organizations and local and tribal governments for community projects aimed at addressing environmental and public health issues.

"These grants mark the beginning of a full-scale revitalization of what we do and how we think about environmental justice," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Environmental justice is not an issue we can afford to relegate to the margins. It has to be part of our thinking in every decision we make."

Grant recipients will use the money to create healthy, sustainable communities throughdozens of local projects aligned with Administrator Jackson's top five priorities-improving air quality, managing chemical risks, cleaning up hazardous-waste disposal sites, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting America's water.

Recipients in California each received $20,000 for the following projects:

Communities for a Better Environment, an Oakland-based group, is conducting a community-level mobile source emissions inventory of the Hegenberger Corridor utilizing diesel truck counting methods performed by community members. CBE will then analyze the data to quantify the amount of mobile source pollution the residents are exposed to and address diesel truck routes in the area as one remedy.

Committee for a Better Arvin, based in Arvin, is increasing community awareness about health impacts caused by local environmental issues such as poor air quality, pesticide spraying, and contaminated drinking water. The group is building the community's capacity to address the public health hazards by engaging community members in local land use decisions. Through education campaigns and community trainings, Committee for a Better Arvin will bring together community residents and local decision-makers to foster dialogue and collaboration to address the many environmental hazards facing Arvin.

Center for Community Action & Environmental Justice in Riverside is developing work teams in San Bernardino County communities living near rail yards to launch an educational campaign addressing particulate pollution and the resulting health risk to these communities. The "street teams" will develop materials and a training plan for community health workers on air pollution for use in the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice's community health worker curriculum.

Financial assistance under the environmental justice small grants program is available to all non-profit organizations designated by the IRS or recognized by the state, territory, commonwealth or tribe in which it is located; city, township, county government and their entities; or federally recognized Native American tribal government.

In the 15 years since initiating the environmental justice small grants program, EPA has awarded more than $20 million in funding to assist 1,130 community-based organizations and local and tribal governments.

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