Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded over $1 million in new grants to advance environmental justice in California. The grants will support 13 new projects throughout the state.
“Through these grants, EPA is funding innovative projects across California based on community priorities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Our goal is to achieve positive impacts through the meaningful involvement and fair treatment of the communities we serve, providing them the resources to advance environmental justice.”
The grants, awarded through EPA’s national Environmental Justice Small Grants and Collaborative Problem-Solving programs, support underserved communities across California in their efforts to address local environmental and public health issues. The programs are funded through the American Rescue Plan, Congressional appropriations, and Ports Initiative funding. The projects cover a wide array of environmental justice issues including COVID-19 pandemic response, air and water monitoring, food access, community planning, community agriculture, green jobs and infrastructure, farmworker safety, and emergency preparedness and planning.
California organizations receiving grants include:
The Special Service for Groups, Inc./Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement is enhancing water resiliency engagement in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County focusing on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. The project will increase local awareness of water challenges through culturally and linguistically appropriate educational tools meant to elevate community voices. The focus will be on engaging residents on water conservation strategies (e.g., establishing water conservation habits, installing rain barrels) and collaborating with city leaders to identify sites for a multi-benefit stormwater capture project.
Grow2Zero FARMS is implementing the Harvest to Home Healthy Produce Delivery Project in Long Beach, CA. By rescuing fresh food and growing food in an organic garden, 60,000 pounds of produce will be distributed to vulnerable, homebound residents. In addition, the project will provide community workshops on food waste reduction, organic gardening, and composting.
“This grant has helped us partner with local families that don’t have convenient access to shop for groceries,” said Judy Gregory, Grow2Zero Farms Executive Director. “Many of our recipients are seniors or disabled persons. They express how appreciative they are for receiving fresh vegetables and pantry items from our rescue partners, delivered straight to their door every week.”
Center for Environmental Health is developing a community air monitoring network in Paramount, CA. Residents will be trained to independently collect air samples, alert regulators to pollution peaks, and use this data to advocate for feasible, long-term, preventative actions to improve public health.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law in March 2021, provided over 60 percent of the funding for these projects being funded across the U.S. Awards made with the ARP focus on the unequal impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations.
EPA’s Ports Initiative, which focuses on addressing air quality issues at coastal ports, inland ports, and rail yards, also helped support one of the California grants, selected for the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project to support the West Oakland Sustainable Port Collaborative. This project prepares community stakeholders effectively engage with operators and other stakeholders of nearby port or rail facilities to influence decision-making for diesel engine emissions and related air quality.
Learn more about EJ Small Grant funding through EPA’s Ports Initiative by visiting the 2021 Environmental Justice Small Grants Awarded to Communities Living Near Port and Rail Facilities website.
Learn more about EJ Grants by visiting EPA’s Small Grant Program and Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program websites.
Learn more about ARP funding at EPA’s American Rescue Plan website.