EPA Selects UC Berkeley, State of California, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians for Grants Funded by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Pollution Prevention Grants Focus on Promoting Safer Products, Helping Businesses in Underserved Communities
SAN FRANCISCO - Today, at a press event at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe announced the selection of the University of California, Berkeley, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians to receive a total of $1,034,275 in three pollution prevention grants made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The grants will allow states and Tribes to help businesses develop practices to prevent or reduce pollution, while also reducing business and potential liability costs.
“These grants made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will enhance EPA’s efforts to protect Californians from potential hazardous exposures in their homes, workplaces, schools and communities,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. "These grants will help companies reduce the use of hazardous chemicals, reduce waste, conserve resources and improve their financial and environmental sustainability.”
The three grants being announced today will support the following projects:
The University of California, Berkeley Broadening Greener Solutions project will serve to reduce hazardous chemicals in commerce by pairing students with businesses to identify safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in consumer products. The focus will be on products with high impacts in overburdened and underserved communities, and the University will receive $334,275 in grant funding. As part of this project, the students provide product manufacturers chemical hazard and alternative assessment reports (Greener Solutions), and then the University places students in internships to continue research and implementation of the proposed solutions (Greener Partnerships).
“This grant from EPA will allow us to launch an entirely new undergraduate program to pair Berkeley's top student minds with external industry partners in order to solve real-world green chemistry challenges,“ said Megan Arnett, Executive Director of Berkeley’s Center for Green Chemistry. “The students and expert instructors will work with the industry partner to identify safer alternatives to a chemical of concern to the industry. The industry partner walks away with customized, actionable recommendations for making their product safer for consumers and the environment, while launching a new generation of students thinking critically about safer materials innovation and pollution prevention.”
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC’s) Integrating and Evaluating Environmental Justice Impacts in Alternatives Assessment for Safer Consumer Products project will provide tools and guidance to help manufacturers evaluate impacts on underserved communities when looking for safer chemicals in their products. DTSC will receive $350,000 to expand the consideration of environmental justice impacts when evaluating and comparing chemicals for use in products. The project will develop guidance and nationally accessible training modules on tools, databases, and methodologies.
The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians’ Intertribal Pollution Prevention project will support training and technical assistance to businesses on how to reduce hazardous chemical, energy and water use on the Viejas Indian Reservation. The Viejas Band will receive $350,000 for the project, which will include waste reduction and resource use assessments, implementation of pollution prevention measures, staff trainings, data tracking, and other assistance. The overall project goal will be the reduction of hazardous chemicals used in operations, reduction of energy and water use, and provision to staff and tribal colleagues of valuable knowledge that can transcend the workplace to their homes and lifestyle. The project will be used to develop new resources that can be shared with other Tribal nations using the web platform, Tribal Pollution Prevention Action.
EPA’s Pollution Prevention Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to underserved communities. To broaden and diversify the applicant pool for this round of grants, state and Tribal programs will not be required to provide matching funds, as is required by traditional pollution prevention grants. Many of the grants awarded nationwide will support implementation of pollution prevention practices in Indian country.
The United States produces billions of pounds of pollution each year and spends billions of dollars per year controlling this pollution. Preventing pollution at the source, rather than managing waste after it is produced, advances a sustainable economic and environmental infrastructure. Pollution prevention can reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, conserve natural resources, and lower business costs, particularly costs associated with waste management, disposal and cleanup. These practices are essential for protecting health, improving environmental conditions in and around disadvantaged communities, and preserving natural resources like wetlands, groundwater sources, and other critical ecosystems.
These grants are the first of five pollution prevention grant programs over the next five years that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Other upcoming programs will encourage products, purchasing, and/or supply chains that are safer, more sustainable, and environmentally preferable. These grants will also encourage businesses that are working in, or working with, underserved and disadvantaged communities to adopt pollution prevention practices. Later this year, EPA also anticipates awarding traditional pollution prevention grants administered by the agency for over 25 years.
EPA anticipates that it will award the grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.
Read more about Pollution Prevention and the Pollution Prevention Grant Program on EPA’s Pollution Prevention (P2) webpage.
For more information on funding visit EPA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law webpage.
For more information on EPA’s Environmental Justice initiatives visit EPA’s Justice40 at EPA webpage.