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Groups in East Boston and Worcester Receive $50,000 in Environmental Justice Grants

Release Date: 10/21/04
Contact Information:

Contact: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

For Immediate Release: Oct. 21, 2004; Release # 04-10-31b

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has awarded two grants totaling $50,000 for projects promoting environmental justice in Massachusetts. The grants were awarded to organizations in Worcester and Boston.

The two groups that received $25,000 awards are: the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing in East Boston and the Regional Environmental Council in Worcester. The grants were awarded through EPA’s Environmental Justice Hazardous Substance Research Small Grants Program.

“EPA’s environmental justice grants ensure that all residents of New England receive equal protection from environmental hazards,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “These grants will fund specific projects that will reduce the chances that someone living in Worcester or East Boston will be threatened by the risks that come with pollution.”

The Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and its partners will train two environmental youth crews to identify and categorize contamination levels at key sites along Chelsea Creek. using site histories and local knowledge. The crews will recommend ways to clean those sites and will determine possible liability issues. Students from Boston College’s Urban Ecology Institute will research policy barriers that prevent organizations and people who want to create public open space on the site from getting control over the identified sites.

The Regional Environment Council, in conjunction with Worcester Polytechnic Institute and local residents, will work to identify major sources of potential public health and environmental risk in the Quinsigamond Village, a historically industrial corridor in Worcester. The council will lead a team of academics and community partners in developing and testing community-based research methods. The council and its partners will use community knowledge and land use data to characterize potential hazardous exposures. The council will organize several community meetings and four site walks to discuss and get information on historical and current sources of potential exposure. Data will be used to develop a community risk assessment in the future.

For more information about these projects and to receive an application for the next round of Environmental Justice grants, contact EPA New England’s regional Environmental Justice Small Grants coordinator Davina Wysin at 617-918-1020 or The applications are in English and Spanish. More information about this grant program can also be found at