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Port of Providence Selected for EPA Community-Scale Air Toxics Monitoring Grant

09/29/2020
Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1017

PROVIDENCE - The Port of Providence is one of 11 air toxics monitoring projects selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to receive funding under the Agency's Community-Scale Air Toxics Ambient Monitoring grants.

Under this program, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) will receive $263,502 to characterize air toxics emissions near the Port of Providence and characterize risk to the most highly affected populations, including surrounding environmental justice areas, schools and hospitals.

As EPA pursues its mission to protect human health and the environment, the Agency periodically awards these grants to help state, local and tribal air agencies conduct air quality monitoring projects to address localized air toxics issues. Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants, are linked to cancer or other serious health effects. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA currently regulates 187 listed air toxic pollutants.

"The Trump Administration continues to prioritize partnerships with communities to improve air quality across the country," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "We are pleased to award these grants to help state, local and tribal air agencies monitor for air toxics, which will help agencies identify areas of concern and take appropriate action."

"EPA is very happy to provide these funds to boost air monitoring near the Port of Providence," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "EPA and RIDEM have made great strides to address concerns raised by the nearby community, and expanding this air toxics monitoring program will make a significant difference to protect people's health."

In 2017, EPA initiated a pilot project as part of its Ports Initiative to enhance community-port collaboration. EPA worked with the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, the City of Providence, the Port of Providence, community stakeholders, and other interested local entities to facilitate a long-term conversation between near-port residents, businesses, government agencies and port-related stakeholders. The grant announced today is an important milestone as EPA works with this community to address environmental exposure concerns.

"This Community Scale Air Toxics Grant will help DEM lead a comprehensive study of air pollution at the Port, allowing air monitoring stations to be installed at five locations affected by Port emissions," said Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit. "This project will provide valuable information about air pollution levels in neighborhoods near the Port and inform how best to limit current and future exposures to those pollutants."

Background
Nationally, the EPA Community-Scale Air Toxics Ambient Monitoring grants will help monitor and provide important information to communities on air toxics, including ethylene oxide, chloroprene, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and toxic metals. In addition to RIDEM, EPA selected ten other state and local agencies selected to receive grants will conduct projects in these categories:

  1. Characterizing the impacts of air toxics in a community (community-scale monitoring);
  2. Assessing the impacts of air toxics emissions from specific sources (near-source monitoring);
  3. Evaluating new and emerging testing methods for air toxics.

The grants total $5 million. EPA anticipates providing selected agencies funding for their work in fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

Funding for the grants comes from State and Tribal Assistance (STAG) funding. Congress appropriates STAG funds for state, local and tribal air agencies to use in implementing and maintaining environmental programs. EPA announced the grants competition February 13, 2020. The Agency held two information sessions in February for agencies considering applying for the grants and extended the application deadline to May 1, 2020 because of the impacts of the COVID-19 response.

To learn more about the Community-Scale Air Toxics Ambient Monitoring grants, visit  https://www.epa.gov/amtic/community-scale-air-toxics-ambient-monitoring-csatam