The Environmental Protection Agency will provide $128 million in funding for 186 designated projects focused on environmental justice.
The organizations were selected by the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement and Environmental Justice Government-to-Government program, and the funds will go toward projects that ensure disadvantaged communities have access to clean air and water and climate change solutions.
The funds stem from the Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law last year and included numerous provisions addressing climate impacts. The law has provided many funding opportunities for clean energy and other environmental solutions.
The EPA defines environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. It is achieved when all people have the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment.
“For too long, historically disadvantaged communities have disproportionately shouldered the burdens of pollution and the worsening impacts of climate change,” Deleware Sen. Tom Carper, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement. “Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act’s unprecedented environmental justice block grants, EPA is helping communities across our nation build healthier futures. I commend the Biden Administration for its continued commitment to ensuring that all Americans have clean air and clean water, regardless of their zip code.”
Environmental Justice Programs
The funding covers projects in two environmental justice initatives — the Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) Program and the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving (EJCPS) Program.
The EJCPS provides financial assistance to organizations working to address local environmental or public health issues in their communities. These projects focus on local issues, such as threats from wildfires and other climate impacts; indoor and outdoor air quality; access to healthy food; water quality and toxic pollution; and the ability to develop health impact assessments, emergency response plans, and economic revitalization initiatives, the White House said.
Some of these programs include replacing abandoned buildings in underserved communities, adapting the framework rapid response strategy for disaster preparedness, and supporting individuals reentering the workforce after serving prison terms with secure solar program jobs.
The EJG2G program provides funding at the state, local, territorial, and Tribal level to support government activities in partnership with community-based organizations that result in “measurable environmental or public health impacts in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms.” These environmental justice challenges include indoor and outdoor air quality; exposure to toxic pollution in homes; water quality; access to healthy food and affordable transportation; and emergency preparedness.
Some of the grant selections for this program also include fling gaps in radon awareness, testing, and mitigation, as well as creating all-electric homes by leveraging air-source heat pumps.
The EPA selected 98 Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement recipients, which will receive up to $500,000 each. Another 88 Environmental Justice Government-to-Government grant recipients will receive up to $1,000,000 each. Those projects account for $104 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding, with additional funding provided through regular annual appropriations to the EPA.