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EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Week Ending March 27, 2009

EPA RELEASES WEB SITE TO IMPROVE WATERSHED MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

EPA has posted a new Watershed Central Web site to help watershed stakeholders improve their watershed management techniques. The new site provides users with environmental data, watershed models, local organizations, guidance documents as well as links to watershed technical resources, funding, and watershed mapping applications. A new “Watershed Wiki” is provided to help users collaborate on information, share tools, scientific findings, expertise, and local
approaches to watershed management. The Watershed Central Web site is located at www.epa.gov/watershedcentral

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS NOW OPEN FOR $1.4 MILLION IN WETLAND DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

The EPA Mid-Atlantic Region issued its 2009 Request for Proposals for Wetland Development Grants to develop comprehensive programs for wetland protection and management.  Eligibility is open to the Region 3 states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia), local governments and state affiliated academic institutions.  The goal is to increase the quantity and quality of regional wetlands by conserving and restoring wetland acreage and improving wetland conditions. Deadline is May 1.  To download a Request for Proposals copy and details regarding  submittal procedures, eligibility details and proposal criteria, go to   http://www.epa.gov/reg3esd1/wetlands/grants.htm or http://www.Grants.gov 

EYE CARE COMPANY PLANT IN HUNTINGDON, W.VA. VOLUNTEERS TO REDUCE MERCURY

The Alcon Research, Ltd. facility in Huntington, W.Va., (an eye-care product manufacturer) has joined EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) which has the goal to voluntarily reduce the use or release of four million pounds of 31 Priority Chemicals with high toxicity levels like mercury by 2011. Alcon has committed to removing and recycling mercury from its equipment such as mercury-containing gauges, thermostats and switches. Mercury can have adverse health effects when breathed as a vapor.  For more information on the NPEP program, go to www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/minimize/npep/. For more information about mercury, go to http://epa.gov/mercury/about.htm

EPA LAUNCHES VIDEO/PHOTO PROJECT IN CELEBRATION OF EARTH DAY

EPA has launched an interactive video and photo project to highlight Earth Day (April 22) and its renewed commitment to protect human health and the environment. Interested parties worldwide may submit videos and photos on environmental topics and the overall environmental health of their communities. The video project categories are: reducing your carbon footprint; conserving and protecting water; protecting the environment; and reduce, reuse, recycle. (Entries may be submitted to the EPA Earth Day Video Project group on the YouTube video sharing Web site). The photo project categories are: people and the environment; the beauty of nature; and wildlife. (Entries may be submitted until April 30 via Flickr online photo management application). For more information, go to EPA’s Earth Day site.  

EPA RELEASES STRATEGIC PLAN TO EVALUATE THE TOXICITY OF CHEMICALS

EPA has released its “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Strategic Plan for Evaluating the Toxicity of Chemicals” to protect human health and the environment.  The strategic plan allows scientists to assess the adverse effects from many chemicals and mixtures by incorporating recent advances in molecular biology, genomics, and the computational sciences.  When fully implemented, the new approach will speed up screening of thousands of environmental chemicals for potentially harmful effects, and provide better health protection for children by allowing scientists to discover how children may react to the same chemicals as adults.  For more information, go to Strategic Plan for Evaluating the Toxicity of Chemicals.

EPA AWARDS $800,000 IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE GRANTS TO COMMUNITIES IN 28 STATES; FOUR REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS GAIN RECOGNITION

EPA awarded approximately $800,000 in environmental justice grants of $20,000 each to 40 organizations in 28 states working to improve the environment in communities facing environmental justice and public health issues. Grant recipients will use the money to create healthy, sustainable communities through local projects that are improving air quality, managing chemical risks, cleaning up hazardous-waste disposal sites, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the nation’s water. Four regional organizations were among the 40 organizations nationwide to be funded:

Neighborhood Interfaith Movement, a Philadelphia, non-profit organization will use its $20,000 EPA grant to train people to teach families to reduce childhood lead poisoning, exposure to pesticides and pests and high asthma rates in Philadelphia’s Germantown, Tioga, and Nicetown neighborhoods.

Heritage Health Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization in Braddock, Pa. will use its $20,000 grant to educate residents about the sources of outdoor and indoor air pollution in their Allegheny County community such as asthma triggers and the potential dangers of asbestos and lead-based paint in their neighborhood.

Episcopal Community Services of Maryland will use its $20,000 grant to train people to advocate for healthier homes, with workshops and outreach for residents in the East Baltimore Collington Square neighborhood to reduce childhood lead poisoning and the factors triggering asthma. 

Southern Appalachian Labor School, a non-profit organization in Kincaid, W. Va., will use its $20,000 grant to provide educational workshops and outreach in Fayette County to teach low-income residents residing in coal-heated coal camp houses how to reduce their exposure to high levels of lead and mercury from their homes. For more information on the environmental justice grants program, go to  http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html

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