BOSTON -- EPA announced competitive cooperative agreements with 2 Massachusetts community-based organizations working to address environmental justice issues. The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding for non-profit and tribal organizations to partner with stakeholders from across industry, government, and academia to develop and implement solutions that significantly address environmental and/or public health issues in American communities.
“These two cooperative agreements allow EPA to contribute to local solutions to improve environmental conditions,” said EPA regional administrator Curt Spalding. “These are the kinds of on-the-ground investments that make real differences in our communities.”
In 2003, EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) launched the first solicitation for the EJCPS Cooperative Agreement Program. Since the Program’s inception, EPA has provided funding to 50 projects nationwide to help communities understand and address exposure to environmental harms and risks. Each of this year’s recipients are awarded up to $120,000 to support two-year projects. Projects must use the Collaborative Problem Solving model, comprised of seven elements of a successful collaborative partnership, to address local environmental and/or public health issues.
The two cooperative agreements in Massachusetts total $240,000. The selected recipients are:
- Montachusett Opportunity Council, Fitchburg, Massachusetts
- Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc., Springfield, Massachusetts
The Montachusett Opportunity Council (MOC) plans to work with residents, municipal officials and community organizations in Fitchburg, MA to reduce stormwater pollution to the Nashua River through education and the creation of green space.
“MOC is excited to work with community partners to address the issue of stormwater pollution using green infrastructure, said Mary Giannetti director of Nutrition, Wellness, Energy and Housing. “Our capacity building efforts with City and community stakeholders, engagement of youth through education and training, and creation of a “Green Infrastructure Outdoor Museum” on a vacant lot will educate the community about water pollution prevention and result in a cleaner and healthier Nashua River.”
Partners for a Healthier Community will use this agreement to work towards reducing asthma in the Mason Square neighborhood of Springfield by developing infrastructure and capacity to connect residents to the help and education they may need.
“Through our past efforts to improve asthma management and indoor air quality in Springfield, we have found that there is a tremendous need to improve housing conditions that lead to the disproportionately high rates of asthma and other health issues. We are pleased to have this opportunity to bring residents, housing organization and local government together to implement a Healthy Homes initiative.”
Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process. These awards represent EPA’s commitment to promoting localized, community-based actions to address environmental justice issues.
Please visit http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publications/grants/cps-project-abstracts-2014.pdf for a complete listing of the 2014 Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement recipients and project descriptions.
In the fall of 2014, EPA plans to release a Request for Applications for the fiscal year 2015 Environmental Justice Small Grants Program. A schedule of pre-application teleconference calls will be announced at that time.
More information about EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement Program: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-cps-grants.html