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News Releases from Region 04

The Gills Creek Watershed Association of Columbia, SC awarded $30,000 Environmental Justice Small Grant

Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (pinkney.james@epa.gov)
404-562-9183, 404-562-8400

ATLANTA - An Environmental Justice Small Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been awarded to the Gills Creek Watershed Association. for their project titled: Exposure to mercury through subsistence fishing: Assessment and outreach in underserved communities in Gills Creek Watershed, SC. The Gills Creek Watershed Association is one of 40 non-profit and tribal organizations selected for award of nearly $1.2 million in competitive grants for work to address environmental justice (EJ) issues nationwide.

This project will investigate the potential for the presence of the water based toxin, mercury, in fish within Gills Creek and then effectively communicate those findings and the related health effects to the surrounding communities of Arthurtown, Washington Park, Little Camden, Starlite, Eastway Park, Sims, and Bluff Estates.

"EPA's environmental justice grants help communities across the country understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks at the local level," said Matthew Tejada, Director of EPA's Office of Environmental Justice. "Addressing the impacts of climate change is a priority for EPA and the projects supported by this year's grants will help communities prepare for and build resilience to localized climate impacts."

The grants enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority and low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution.

EPA's EJ Small Grants have been a foundational piece to the portfolios of many community organizations that have gone on to make a visible difference in their communities. The 2015 grants will help organizations in 22 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands carry out projects that will educate residents about environmental issues that may impact their health, collect data about local environmental conditions, and work collaboratively to address environmental justice issues in their communities. The grants support activities that not only address a range of community concerns, but also support activities that are educating and empowering youth and the next generation of environmental stewards. Specific grant projects will focus on reducing exposure to air pollutants from diesel exhaust, developing resilient sustainable agriculture, protecting farm workers from health impacts of pesticides, and increasing community climate resiliency.

For 2015 Environmental Justice Small Grant recipients and project descriptions: http://www3.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publications/grants/ej-smgrants-recipients-2015.pdf

For more information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, including descriptions of previously funded grants:

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