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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Awards $120,000 to Cape Fear River Watch, Inc. to Reduce Risks to Subsistence Fishers in New Hanover and Pender Counties in North Carolina

Contact Information: 
Davina Marraccini (marraccini.davina@epa.gov)

ATLANTA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Cape Fear River Watch, Inc. is among 10 community-based organizations selected nationally to receive competitive cooperative agreements to address environmental justice issues. Each of this year’s recipients will receive up to $120,000 to support two-year projects. The projects will address a variety of environmental justice issues through innovative project activities in areas like green infrastructure, stormwater management and recycling.

The Cape Fear River Watch project is focused on the issue of subsistence fishing in New Hanover and Pender Counties in North Carolina. The Northeast Cape Fear River is impaired, and high levels of mercury contamination have been detected in fish tissue samples. Subsistence fishers and their families are at risk from exposure to mercury and other toxins in the fish tissue. Project partners, including the Wake Forest School of Medicine, New Hanover County NAACP, New Hanover County Department of Health and the Duke University Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, will work together to educate and empower subsistence fishers to protect their health using culturally-specific techniques and language.

EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement program provides funding for non-profit and tribal organizations to partner with stakeholders from across industry, government, and academia to develop and implement solutions that significantly address environmental and/or public health issues in America’s low income and/or minority communities.

“This funding will help dedicated and diverse organizations that work every day to address crucial environmental justice issues in their communities,” said Matthew Tejada, EPA’s Director of the Office of Environmental Justice. “The innovative and collaborative projects these funds support will bring lasting environmental and public health benefits to local communities.”

The community-based organizations will use EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving model to execute a wide array of project plans aligned with EPA’s priorities of making a visible difference in communities, protecting America’s waters, taking action on toxics and chemical safety, and addressing climate change and improving air quality. The neighborhoods and communities participating in these projects have been impacted by environmental harms plaguing their local areas.

The 10 cooperative agreements total about $1.2 million. The other selected recipients are:

•The Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island

•People United for Sustainable Housing, Inc. (New York)

•CASA de Maryland, Inc.

•Metropolitan Tenants Organization (Illinois)

•Mary Queen of Viet Nam Community Development Corporation (Louisiana)

•Dutchtown South Community Corporation (Missouri)

•Conejos County Clean Water, Inc. (Colorado)

•Asian Health Services (California)

•El Centro de la Raza (Washington state)

Please visit: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-collaborative-problem-solving-cooperative-agreement-2 for a full description of the 2016 Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement projects.

More information about EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement Program can be found on the Office of Environmental Justice EJ Grants webpage: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-grants-funding-and-technical-assistance.

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