On October 8, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced nearly $1.2 million in competitive grants selected for award to 40 non-profit and tribal organizations working to address environmental justice (EJ) issues nationwide. The grants enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority and low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution. In addition to the 36 projects receiving funding from EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, the program is bolstered this year by the funding of four additional projects in Gulf Coast communities by the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program.
EPA’s EJ Small Grants have been a foundational piece to the portfolios of many community organizations that have gone on to make a visible difference in their communities. The 2015 grants will help organizations in 22 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands carry out projects that will educate residents about environmental issues that may impact their health, collect data about local environmental conditions, and work collaboratively to address environmental justice issues in their communities. The grants support activities that not only address a range of community concerns, but also support activities that are educating and empowering youth and the next generation of environmental stewards. Specific grant projects will focus on reducing exposure to air pollutants from diesel exhaust, developing resilient sustainable agriculture, protecting farm workers from health impacts of pesticides, and increasing community climate resiliency.