Biden-Harris Administration Announces More Than $1.5 Million for Four Community Air Pollution Monitoring Projects in Arizona
Largest investment for community air monitoring in EPA history funded by President Biden’s Climate and Economic Plans
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected four entities to receive more than $1.5 million in grant funding to conduct community air quality monitoring in Arizona. The grants are among 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states that will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.
“This funding will enhance air quality monitoring in and around underserved communities in Arizona and provide scientific information needed to better understand and address impacts from air pollution," said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA is proud to support efforts at the local level to monitor air quality and promote monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments.”
The grant recipients and projects in Arizona are:
- Cocopah Indian Tribe ($185,029): Grant funding will be used to establish long-term air quality monitoring capacity at the Cocopah Indian Tribe through the deployment of air monitors, data collection and analysis, staff training, and community outreach.
- Navajo Nation ($486,000): The Navajo Nation is working to evaluate whether the emission of volatile organic compounds from oil and gas facilities impacts human health and the environment of neighboring Navajo communities. The funds will address health outcome disparities from pollution combined with COVID-19 concerns.
- Pima County Department of Environmental Quality ($488,210.33): Pima County and its partners will leverage relationships with multiple school districts throughout the county to deploy and operate additional low-cost outdoor air pollution sensors improving exposure measurements of selected air pollutants for the entire population, especially locations identified with environmental justice concerns.
- Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community ($404,372): The Community will use this funding to enhance its quality assurance and data management to fulfill EPA ambient monitoring requirements and to ensure that data meet its quality objective.
“Everybody deserves clean air, but right now cities and tribes across Arizona are experiencing severe smog and pollution” said Congressman Ruben Gallego. “Air pollution takes a heavy toll on the health of our residents, especially children and seniors. Thanks to Democrats in Congress, almost $2 million in funding for air quality monitoring projects is on its way to Arizona to help our local and tribal governments better monitor air quality and protect Arizonans.”
Congressman Raúl Grijalva said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates that Congressional action by Democrats will enable a cleaner, healthier environment for Southern Arizona and our country. I’m happy to see that the investments will go toward funding staff, research, and monitors to help protect local communities and Indigenous tribes from pollutants to support environmental programs and environmental justice efforts. I’ll continue to press for legislation and federal funding that will tackle climate change, health and environmental inequities and ensure a more just and sustainable future.”
The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and tribal governments.
These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts. By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.
EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.
In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants. In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance their mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. These investments will improve EPA's ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information.
In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments. EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.