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Center for Environmental and Economic Justice Among Winners of EPA’s First Annual Environmental Justice Achievement Awards

Release Date: 10/21/2008
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293,

(ATLANTA – Oct. 21, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Center for Environmental and Economic Justice (CEEJ) in Biloxi, Miss., is among 12 winners of its first annual Environmental Justice Achievement Awards during an award ceremony today in Atlanta. The awards recognize organizations for their distinguished accomplishments in addressing environmental justice issues, ranging from reducing children’s pesticide exposure in childcare facilities to helping hurricane-displaced communities address environmental contamination so they could return home.

"We all have a stake in ensuring that our air is cleaner, our water is purer, and our land is better protected," said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "These organizations are making a positive impact in their communities by promoting a clean and healthy environment for all people."

CEEJ, a minority-owned social justice organization, was recognized for its long history of advocating for environmental justice in communities. It was instrumental in the cleanups of Keesler Air Force Base and the Navy Base in Gulfport, Miss. CEEJ has conducted a number of educational awareness campaigns on topics ranging from lead and other contaminants to health impacts in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Among its most recent accomplishments, CEEJ has been successful in monitoring contamination from Cavenham Forest Industries, Inc., along the Turkey Creek Basin and gathering and disseminating information to the impacted community.

Other award recipients include representatives from community-based organizations; academic institutions; state and local governments; tribal governments and indigenous organizations; and non-governmental organizations and environmental groups.

The following organizations also received awards:

Anahola Homesteaders Council (Anahola, Kauai, HI)
Citizens for Environmental Justice (Savannah, GA)
Communities for a Better Environment (Huntington Park, CA)
Dillard University, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (New Orleans, LA)
Duke University, Children’s Environmental Health Initiative (Durham, NC)
Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC)
Negocio Verde Environmental Justice Task Force (County of San Diego, CA)
New Mexico Environment Department (Santa Fe, NM)
Safer Pest Control Project (Chicago, IL)
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (Columbia, SC)
West End Revitalization Association (Mebane, NC)

Information on the EJ Achievement Award Program, including more details about this year's recipients:

Photo caption: (From left to right) Charles Lee, Director, EPA Office of Environmental Justice; Richard Moore, National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Chair; Robert Varney, EPA New England Regional Administrator; Bishop James Black, award recipient and Executive Director of the Center for Environmental and Economic Justice; Granta Nakayama, EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA); Catherine McCabe, EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, OECA; and Russell Wright, Acting Deputy Regional Administrator, EPA Region 4.