EPA Announces $14.1 Million to Fund 133 Environmental Justice Grants
New York Communities will Benefit
NEW YORK — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $14.1 million in environmental justice (EJ) grant funding for 133 grants selected through the Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) and Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement (EJCPS) programs. Ninety-nine EJ Small Grant recipients have been selected to receive up to $75,000 each, and 34 EJCPS grant recipients have been selected to receive up to $200,000 each, following successful completion of the award process. The majority of these EJ grants are receiving funds appropriated through the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
“President Biden has made it clear that delivering environmental justice is a top priority for this Administration, especially in communities most gravely impacted by the pandemic and health outcome disparities from pollution,” said Administrator Michael S. Regan. "Thanks to the President and Congress, today’s environmental justice grants funded in large part by the American Rescue Plan will provide critical support to our most overburdened and vulnerable communities.”
The 2021 EJ Small Grants selections will benefit communities in 37 states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico. These ninety-nine projects, many funded through ARP, cover a wide array of environmental justice issues including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, air monitoring, indoor/outdoor air quality, food access, community planning, water treatment training, community agriculture, green jobs and infrastructure, emergency preparedness and planning, toxic exposures, water quality, and healthy homes projects.
Also, in support of President Biden’s Executive Orders 13985 and 14008 , EPA has for the first time created a designation exclusively for small nonprofit organizations, defined as having 10 or fewer full-time employees. This effort reflects the President’s Justice40 Initiative defined in EO 14008 and ensures that grant resources reach organizations of lower capacity that historically struggle to receive federal funding. 83 of the organizations receiving an EJ Small Grant this year are small nonprofit organizations.
In addition, 7 EJ Small Grants will support EPA’s Ports Initiative by addressing air quality issues at coastal ports, inland ports, and rail yards. These projects help prepare community
stakeholders to effectively engage with operators and other stakeholders of nearby port or rail facilities to influence decision-making that may impact diesel engine emissions and related air quality.
To see the full listing of all 99 organizations receiving an EJSG and to learn more about EJSG, visit: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-small-grants-program
The 2021 EJ Collaborative Problem-Solving selections will benefit communities in 24 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These 34 projects address a breadth of environmental justice issues including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, air monitoring, indoor/outdoor air quality, community education, EJ tool development, green jobs and infrastructure, food access, emergency preparedness and planning, toxic exposures, land reuse, water quality, and support of healthy homes.
To see the full listing of all the selected 34 EJCPS projects and to learn more about EJCPS, visit: https://www.epa.gov/environmental-justice/environmental-justice-collaborative-problem-solving-cooperative-agreement-0.
Examples of EJSG and EJCPS projects selected for funding through ARP include:
Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, Inc (Bronx, NY)
This project aims to educate underserved teens in the Bronx, New York, on how to reduce solid waste through waste management and broaden their understanding of natural resources. Through hands-on experience, Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, Inc will educate project participants and community members on solid waste management by collecting and processing scraps in compost bins, demonstrating sustainable gardening practices, and hosting educational programs on composting.
Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (Bronx, NY)
This project intends to train youth leaders in the South Bronx section of the Bronx, New York, on the potential environmental and health effects of air quality and mitigate air pollution in their community. In addition, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice will analyze air quality data collected in the South Bronx to determine correlation between South Bronx air quality, air pollution, respiratory illness and the link between air quality and COVID-Transmission and poor health. The result of the analysis be widely disseminated, in the form of trainings, speaker series; public outreach and education activities, and a Virtual Symposium, to increase awareness and to residents with continued education on the causes and deleterious effects of air pollution, including COVID-19 and the steps community members can take to protect themselves from air pollution exposure and poor health outcomes.
Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Inc. / RISE Rockaway (Far Rockaway, NY)
Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, through their project titled “Shore Corps – environmental stewards youth internship and workforce development program,” aims to ensure a healthy and resilient Rockaway by conducting an internship program to engage the community youth to learn about stewardship and environmental conservation projects. High schoolers gain hands-on experience through tree maintenance, organized beach clean-ups, dune restoration, alongside critical workforce, and leadership training. The program will also incorporate vaccine education to tackle the urgent health disparities in our local community. Activities will culminate in a one-day mini-conference for attendees, and the project will serve the predominantly very low to moderate-income communities of color on the eastern end of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York.
The Place for Learning / Long Island Science Center (Riverhead, NY)
This project intends to train underserved, diverse students, and residents of Riverhead, Riverside, and New York. Student and residents learn about the health of our local ecosystem and air quality through monitoring, testing, investigating, and reporting. The Place for Learning intends to provide hands-on field exploration and data collection programs in both English & Spanish to create an accessible bi-lingual community resource and teaching tool that will generate opportunities for participants to interact and solve problems collectively with professional scientists and projects around the world. The project will explore new recreational water quality tests for the presence of bacteria and water quality, inform on potential health effects, monitor, and educate the public on air quality issues and health effects.
Atlantic States Legal Foundation (Syracuse, NY)
Atlantic States Legal Foundation and its project partners intends to increase participant’s awareness of stormwater management and air quality. Through a demonstration agroforestry project, the residents of Syracuse and Onondaga will be trained on reducing volatile compounds, particulate matter, water pollution, and stormwater entering municipal sewer systems. Outreach and education will focus on communicating the benefits of agroforestry and urban trees as they relate to stormwater mitigation, air quality improvement, food security, green space access, urban heat island mitigation, and urban resilience.
Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services, Inc (Rochester, NY)
This project aims to educate the angler community in Rochester, New York, on the potential environmental and public health issues surrounding local fish consumption. Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services will engage high school and college students to survey local angler, analyzed the data, develop learning objective, design formats, and deliver meaningful outreach messaging for improved fish advisory communications with local anglers.
Background on the American Rescue Plan Appropriation to EPA
Earlier this year, EPA announced spending plans for the $100 million in ARP funding appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and health outcome disparities, with $50 million being designated to improve ambient air quality monitoring, and $50 million specifically designated for environmental justice to address disproportionate environmental or public health harms and risks in underserved communities through a range of local initiatives.
Of this $50 million ARP appropriation for EJ, $4.1 million went to support 21 EJ projects under the State/Tribal/Local EJ Cooperative Agreement (SEJCA) awards program. The additional EJSG and EJCPS selections announced today will account for approximately $9.55 million of ARP funds with additional funding provided through regular annual appropriations to EPA. Upcoming ARP-funded EJ grant activities will be announced after the EJSG and EJCPS awards are finalized.
To learn more about EJ at EPA, visit: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. To learn more about ARP funding at EPA, visit: https://www.epa.gov/arp.
For up-to-date information about Environmental Justice funding opportunities, events, and webinars, subscribe to EPA's Environmental Justice listserv by sending a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter: @EPAEnvJustice.