State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreements (SEJCA)

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Overview

The State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreements Program provides funding so that eligible entities may work collaboratively with affected communities to understand, promote and integrate approaches to provide meaningful and measurable improvements to the public health and/or environment in the communities.

The State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement (SEJCA) program was developed by EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, with input from the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), to support projects that utilize collaborative problem solving to address environmental and public health issues, such as childhood lead poisoning and exposure to air pollution.

The projects supported through SEJCA are designed to build broad, results-oriented partnerships that work to improve environmental and public health in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental harms and risks. These projects are designed to be replicable in other communities facing similar challenges.

In 2009, EPA selected five state projects to receive funding up to $160,000 each, totaling $800,000.

  • Alaska
    The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Tribal Participation Protocol Development Project is working with Alaska Native tribal organizations to establish an early notification protocol for the Alaska Pollution Disposal and Elimination System permitting program. The objective of this protocol is to increase community involvement in the permitting process. The project will provide the training and tools for implementing the protocol. The best practices resulting from this project will be applied in other Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation programs and potentially to other State permitting programs.

  • California
    The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is working with community representatives, and local, state, and federal regulatory agencies to coordinate multiple environmental pollution mitigation activities. The project will identify inspection and enforcement activities, targeting specific pollution sources, and develop effective strategies for reducing or eliminating these sources in the affected communities. DTSC will also create education programs for community residents and develop compliance assistance programs for small businesses located in selected communities. The initiative will also be exploring options for creating education and job opportunities for community members living in selected communities.

  • Illinois
    The East St. Louis Residential Lead Paint Outreach Collaborative will provide community outreach and training to educate and involve residents in lead abatement and paint contamination throughout the City of East St. Louis. The project includes conducting research on the health effects of exposure to residential lead contamination. The outreach plan and public education program will also focus on the hazards of lead contamination, prevention measures, lead blood screening and abatement services. The overall mission of the collaborative is to prevent and eliminate childhood lead poisoning.

  • Pennsylvania
    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Chester Environmental Partnership, and the Crozer-Keystone Health System have come together in a partnership to address the issues of asthma triggers, solid waste disposal, and children’s environmental health. This project will combine in-home remediation and education with community-based efforts to reduce exposure to air pollution and solid waste. The program will be implemented in three phases:

    1. In-home assessments and baseline evaluations
    2. Asthma education and remediation through peer educators/counselors
    3. Remediation of improperly disposed of solid waste in the community.
       
  • South Carolina
    The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is implementing a pilot project program utilizing collaborative problem-solving. The goal of the pilot project is to build capacity while leveraging federal and state resources, to address the environmental and social justice concerns within the selected communities. DHEC will offer technical assistance to communities as they conduct environmental assessments and address environmental issues identified in the community. Each pilot project will meet specific criteria. There will be opportunities to participate in leadership development training designed to create organizational capacity, assist in developing strategies, and build partnerships.

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