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Region 1: EPA New England

Fiscal Year 2002 Environmental Justice Small Grants Profiles of Four (4) Awardees


A Strategy for Controlling Toxics into the Penobscot Nation Reservation
Amount Awarded - $15,300
Penobscot Indian Nation
6 River Road
Indian Island
Old Town, ME 04468
CONTACT: DANIEL KUSNIERZ
(207) 827-7776

Organization:

The Penobscot Nation (herein “Nation”) is a federally recognized Indian tribe with tribal offices at Indian Island, Maine. The Nation’s reservation consists of the islands and waters of the Penobscot River from Indian Island upstream. Some of the Nation’s rights under the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act (MILCSA) include the description of the Nation’s reservation and the right of tribal members to catch fish for sustenance purposes. Since time immemorial, members of the Nation have taken fish from the Penobscot River for sustenance purposes. The fish and other wildlife of the River, and many kinds of plants living on the banks of the River, are important to members of the Nation for economic, cultural, and religious reasons. The cultural identity of the Nation is inseparable from the River.

Objectives:

The project will develop information for use by the Penobscot Nation in dealing with sources of toxic pollution that are beyond the Nation’s territorial jurisdiction. The project will include the following steps: (1) Review what is already known about mercury, PCBs and other toxic pollutants in the Penobscot River. (2) Review what is already documented about the cultural importance of the River for tribal members. (3) Prepare a report explaining the existing regulatory framework for controlling suspected sources of mercury, PCBs, and other toxic pollutants. Depending on the information generated in Step (1), the report will address programs under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Maine state regulations and programs that have a role in controlling pollutants. (4) Prepare a short paper designed to help communicate to individuals and groups in the larger society how pollution in the River affects the Nation differently from other groups. (5) Conduct a workshop on the report and paper for Nation’s Tribal Council, tribal staff and tribal attorneys. (6) Conduct a series of meetings with stakeholder organizations. (7) Devise a strategic options plan that can be followed to move forward with the information and networks that will have been developed.

 

Environmental Justice Across the Mystic: Education and Training for Community and Capacity Building Project (EJAM)
Amount Awarded - $19,700
Mystic River Watershed Association
20 Academy Street
Arlington, MA 02476
CONTACT: DALE BRYAN
(617) 627-2261

Organization:

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) was founded thirty years ago, as an incorporated 501c(3) organization, with a mission to restore clean water in the Mystic River Watershed, protect water and related natural resources, and establish relevant public information and education programs. MyRWA currently has approximately 250 organizational and individual members, 125 volunteers, and three part-time staff. A board of Directors is elected annually and meets on a bi-monthly basis. Committees focus on outreach and stewardship, policy, water quality, and development/fundraising. MyRWA collaborates with volunteers, local groups, municipalities, state and federal agencies, businesses and universities to accomplish its mission.

Objectives:

In order to facilitate communication and information exchange, MyRWA proposes a multi-tiered approach for Environmental Justice Across the Mystic, offering a range of levels of engagement. Public Forums (3) are envisioned as a means to create interest in the wider community, offering evening gatherings that have value as one-time events, while building towards the future trainings and summit by gathering interested parties together with opportunity for information dissemination and public dialogue. EJ Workshops (2) are targeted at varied sectors of watershed constituents, including specific high target groups such as municipal officials and employees, community-based organizations, watershed groups, as well as general residents. These will utilize the EPA EJ Training Collaborative methodology and materials carried out by partners who have completed EJTC training and/or have extensive EJ expertise. The Mystic Watershed EJ Summit is a half-day gathering of participants invited from all of the above activities as well as strategic invitees, such as the Mystic EJ Advisory Committee, to focus on providing a format for reflection on the outcomes and lessons gained from the forums and EJ trainings, as applied to the communities and daily lives of the residents of the watershed. Faculty from Tufts WaterSHED Center and the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS) have partnered with MyRWA in the implementation of the Tufts New Century Environmental Leadership Institute (NCELI), known as the River Institute. Three River Institute interns will be dedicated to the priority areas of EJ for the summer of 2003.

 

Healthy Home Services Project
Amount Awarded - $15,000
The Way Home, Inc.
214 Spruce Street
Manchester, NH 03101
CONTACT: MARY SLINEY
(603) 627-3491

Organization:

The Way Home’s mission is to help low income households obtain and keep safe, affordable housing with direct housing assistance services, empowerment of low income tenants, and advocacy for community involvement in low income housing issues. The Way Home, incorporated as a non-profit housing service agency in 1989, has assisted more than 5,000 low income families in the Greater Manchester area with its housing counseling services.

The Healthy Home Services program grew out of a special project begun with EPA funding in 1995 to empower a group of low-income tenants in Manchester to build a grassroots Lead Poisoning Prevention campaign. Over the past six years the project has expanded to include in-home education, tenant/landlord communications around lead poisoning prevention, and specialized lead dust reduction cleaning.

Objectives:

The Healthy Home Services Project goals and objectives are to build the Manchester, NH community’s capacity to expand the number of Environmentally Safe Housing units available to low income renters, with a focus on reopening, with appropriate renovations, units closed due to lead paint hazards. Objective 1. Continue the 2001-02 EJ project’s task of identifying closed rental housing units that could be made lead safe for families with young children. Objective 2. Build community support for stakeholder participation in the pilot lead abatement/rehab project that is being created by the 2001-02 EJ project through The Way Home’s Healthy Home Services program and its network of community partners. Objective 3. Evaluate results from the first six months of the 2002 pilot project and assist stakeholders with problem solving to identify barriers to reopening the closed units and to design alternative strategies for reopening/renting units as lead-safe housing for families.

 

Lead Remediation in Urban Soils: A Community Based Research Project
Amount Awarded - $20,000
Bayside Neighborhood Association
24 Stone Street, Box 15
Portland, ME 04101
CONTACT: SANDRA M. ELDER
(207) 415-0769

Organization:

The Bayside Neighborhood Association (BNA) was established in August 1998, and became incorporated in December 1999. The BNA is a young, grassroots, resident-led neighborhood organization serving one of only two urban areas in Maine characterized by the federal government as “distressed.” The BNA has been and is, the critical bridge for communication among Bayside residents, city officials and developers. Without the BNA, the voices of these often-disenfranchised citizens would go unheard in consequential and impacting discussions about their neighborhood. The purpose of the BNA is to preserve and promote safety, multi-cultural diversity, and carefully planned social, economic, and physical development in this unique urban community. BNA’s vision is to promote neighborhood revitalization and address concerns about lead contaminated soils.

Objectives:

The objectives of this project are (1) to perform lead analyses on urban residential soils in the Bayside Neighborhood, in Portland, Maine; (2) to apply a low cost, in-situ mitigation technique (phytoremediation) using food source plants to remediate lead contamination in backyard gardens; and (3) to inform the public of the research results.

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