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San Juan-Based Organization Receives EPA Environmental Justice Grant

Release Date: 06/25/2004
Contact Information:
(04090) San Juan, P.R. -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny today presented a $15,000 Environmental Justice grant to Apoyo Empresarial para la Peninsula de Cantera, a San Juan-based community organization. Through a program called the Health Promotion and Family Alternative Initiative, the group will use the grant to help educate a poor community around the Cantera Peninsula about ways to improve the health of local residents and their environment.

The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program was started in 1994 to assist community-based organizations working on solutions to local environmental problems. Each year, EPA equally divides funding among the 10 EPA regions of the country. Awards range from $2,500 to $20,000 each.

"This program allows grassroots organizations to forge powerful public-private partnerships and find effective local solutions," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator. "It enables community residents to participate in initiatives that affect the quality of their daily lives."

Over decades, the lack of a sanitary sewage system and inadequate garbage management has caused numerous environmental and health hazards for the community around the Cantera Peninsula. Community members are exposed to higher than average levels of toxic pollutants from commercial operations and lack of comprehensive wastewater management.

To combat some of these problems, Apoyo Empresarial para la Peninsula de Cantera will use the grant to educate the residents of this community about health and environmental hazards created by improper waste disposal and offer alternatives. The organization will also assist the community in securing local and federal government support to address their environmental and health concerns.