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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Grants to Help New York City Communities Address Local Environmental Challenges, Includes Air Sampling Around JFK Airport

Contact Information: 
Elias Rodriguez (rodriguez.elias@epa.gov)

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $84,000 to three New York City organizations working to address environmental contamination in their communities. The grants were awarded under the EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, which supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues.

"EPA's environmental justice grants help communities across the country spot local environmental risks and take action to address them," said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. "The projects being funded in the Bronx, Harlem and Queens will tackle two vexing issues facing many of our urban communities - air quality problems and too much stormwater run-off."

The Eastern Queens Alliance will use a $30,000 EPA grant to engage the local residents in reducing emissions that come from the operation of JFK airport and other airport-related sources. This organization will conduct air monitoring to assess the impacts of the airport on local air quality. Eastern Queens Alliance will offer community outreach programs in order to educate the public about the environmental dangers and risks related to air emissions in their area.

The EPA has awarded $24,000 to Council on the Environment's GrowNYC program to support the installation, repair, and maintenance of rainwater harvesting systems within the West Harlem community. Once in place, the systems will capture stormwater that flows off of rooftops in the neighborhood, which will reduce flooding and stormwater flow within the city's sewer system. The program includes education programs for local residents through workshops for community stakeholders, and GrowNYC's online Green Infrastructure toolkit.

Friends of Van Cortlandt Park was awarded $30,000 to help execute its "Wetland Stewardship for a Healthier Bronx Watershed" project, which is designed to reduce the amount of water flowing from Van Cortlandt Lake and Tibbetts Brook into the sewer. Through the combination of classroom studies, hands-on group work, and outdoor service projects, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park will give students and local community members the opportunity to learn about stormwater runoff. The organization aims to reduce the sewer overflows that occur during heavy storm events.

Historically, New York City communities - particularly low-income communities - have faced many environmental challenges. These grants will help community organizations conduct research, implement environmental education programs, and develop solutions to health issues due to harmful environmental threats. Since 2003, the EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program has supported various projects that address local environmental and public health issues in more than 1,400 communities. These grants further EPA's commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.

More information regarding the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, including descriptions of previously funded grants: http://www3.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html