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News Releases from Region 07

EPA Region 7 Selects Environmental Justice Grant Projects to Address Local Community Health and Environmental Issues

Contact Information: 
LaTonya Sanders (sanders.latonya@epa.gov)

Environmental News


(Lenexa, Kan., Oct. 8, 2015) - EPA Region 7 has selected four special grant projects, totaling $119,751, that are designed to educate, empower and enable the communities of Kansas City, Kan., Wichita, Kan., and Omaha, Neb., to better understand and address local health and environmental issues.

The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program is designed to help communities understand and address their exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. Understanding the impacts of multiple environmental risks can help communities develop more effective solutions to their environmental and health concerns. The long-term goals of the EJSG Program are to help build the capacity of the affected community and create self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve local environments in the future.

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income in the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

The regional office received and reviewed six grant proposals. The four selected were:


Diesel Health Project (DHP); Kansas City, $29,816 to work with the communities to (1) identify those most impacted by exposure as a result of goods movement air pollution (2) train residents regarding the risks of diesel exhaust exposure, how they can reduce their personal and family exposure, and how they can work together to improve the health of the community (3) use the Collaborative Problem Solving model to identify issues, develop a vision, and set goals in those neighborhoods; and (4) develop collaborative relationships between and among Kansas City, Kan., community groups, the MoKan Clean Air Coalition, community health organizations, environmental, public health, and other academic programs throughout the region, as well as with other members of the national Moving Forward Network. DHP is partnering with the University of Kansas, members of the Argentine Community, and the MoKan Clean Air Coalition to deliver the goals of this project.

Friends of the Kaw; Kansas City, $29,935 to work with two high school classes to teach water quality classroom lessons and field work. Ten students will be trained on water quality and water quality monitoring. These students will then plan a community event and teach courses to adult community members. In addition, 30 adults from the community will be selected to participate in water quality trainings that will be led by the students. Friends of the Kaw will then work with two middle schools and provide a similar curriculum to the one that was provided to the high school students. This time, the adults from the community will use the knowledge they gained and assist in the field sessions of the curriculum. This project will result in an intergenerational approach towards learning and teaching about water quality in Kansas City, Kan. Participants will learn how their actions impact water quality and what they can do to improve water quality in their community.

Sunflower Community Action, Inc.; Wichita, $30,000 to bring community stakeholders together to better understand the environmental factors that may be impacting the quality of life and health, and discuss action plans to improve air and water quality. The components of the project are: (1) Research - Sunflower staff and neighborhood leaders will gather information to identify and review the compliance history of local facilities; (2) Public Education - Sunflower will hold public meetings to educate neighbors about the environmental quality of air and water in zip code 67214 and what can be done to improve it; (3) Leadership Training - Sunflower will recruit neighborhood leaders who will be organized and trained to engage businesses and environmental agencies regarding environmental quality; and (4) Compliance Relationships - Sunflower Community Action intends to bring businesses, environmental agencies, and local government together with neighborhood leaders to see the results of Sunflower's research and make the Wichita industrial corridor and adjacent neighborhoods a better place to live and work.


Together Incorporated of Metropolitan Omaha; Omaha, $30,000 to improve the quality of the indoor environment of Together Inc.'s clients. The purpose of this project is to: (1) provide healthy home assessments for environmental hazards in at least 125 homes of families with children under the age of 12; (2) offer education to residents about Healthy Homes through in-person trainings and distribution of educational materials; (3) provide Healthy Homes education to Together staff; and (4) collect data on the costs for upgrading homes of residents and create a business plan for continued work to address healthy homes concerns.

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