Historic grant funding for environmental justice will support projects in communities overburdened by pollution and historic underinvestment
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of approximately $100 million for projects that advance environmental justice in underserved and overburdened communities across the country. This funding, made possible through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, marks the largest amount of environmental justice grant funding ever offered by the Agency. EPA has published two Requests for Applications for this funding through the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program and the Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) Program.
“Since day one, President Biden pledged to prioritize environmental justice and equity for all, and EPA is at the heart of delivering on that mission,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Last year, we announced EPA’s first-ever national program office dedicated to advancing environmental justice, memorializing our commitment to this critical work. I couldn’t be prouder to now be announcing an unprecedented level of funding thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act for community-based solutions that support underserved and overburdened communities. This is a key step that will help build strong partnerships with communities across the country and move us closer to realizing a more just and equitable future for all.”
These grant programs further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.
“Today, historic environmental justice funding I fought to secure in the Inflation Reduction Act is being made available,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. “This call for applications ensures money can flow directly to communities that need it most by splitting the funding between community based non-profits as well as the states, localities, tribes, and territories that usually receive federal grants. Helping these non-profits who know their communities better than anyone was central to my mission when fighting for environmental justice priorities in the Inflation Reduction Act and this is only the beginning. I will continue to fight for environmental justice and working with communities across New York to get this money where it is needed most.”
“Every American deserves access to clean air and water—no matter their zip code, the color of their skin or the size of their paycheck,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth. “That’s why, as co-founder of the Senate’s Environmental Justice Caucus, I’m proud to announce today’s grant funding, which will help deliver results for environmental justice communities that have been ignored for too long. Access to clean air and clean water isn’t ‘only’ an environmental issue—it’s a matter of health and safety, systemic racism and persistent discrimination against those in low-income communities. I’m hopeful that today, we’re making important advances toward ending this crisis.”
“I’m grateful for the Biden administration’s commitment to ensuring those disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change are given the opportunity to have a healthier, more equitable future,” said Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07). “The grants announced today and other investments from the Inflation Reduction Act will advance environmental justice in underrepresented communities and help ensure every person has access to pure air, clean water and an environment that allows them to thrive. In Congress, we will continue our legislative efforts to provide greater public health protections for vulnerable communities, strengthen the Civil Rights Act and improve federal agencies’ environmental justice work.”
“I’ve learned over the last two decades of working on environmental justice at the community-level how the proper support and funding can turn good ideas and hard work into something truly impactful,” said Catherine Coleman Flowers, Founding Director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice. “I’m confident that this historic investment from the EPA and Biden Administration is going to yield some incredible solutions to the crisis of environmental injustice, especially in Rural communities that are under-resourced and overburdened.”
The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Program (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program
The EJCPS Program will provide an estimated $30 million in funding directly to community-based nonprofit organizations (and partnerships of these organizations), with $5 million reserved for small community-based nonprofit organizations with five or fewer full-time employees. In total, the Agency anticipates funding approximately 50 awards of $500,000 and 30 awards of $150,000.
EPA’s EJCPS Cooperative Agreement Program provides financial assistance to eligible organizations working on or planning to work on projects to address local environmental and/or public health issues in their communities. The program assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships with other stakeholders (e.g., local businesses and industry, local government, medical service providers, academia, etc.) to develop solutions that will significantly address environmental and/or public health issues at the local level.
The Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) Program
The EJG2G Program (formerly known as the State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement program) will provide an estimated $70 million in funding. Of this, $20 million will be for State governments to be used in conjunction with Community-Based Organization (CBO) partners, $20 million will be for local government with CBO partners, $20 million will be for Federally Recognized Tribal Nations with CBO partners, and $10 million will be for U.S. territories and remote tribes with limited access to CBO partners. In total the Agency anticipates funding approximately 70 projects of up to $1 million each for a 3-year project.
The EJG2G Program works to support and/or create model state activities that lead to measurable environmental or public health results in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms and risks. These models should leverage or utilize existing resources or assets of state agencies to develop key tools and processes that integrate environmental justice considerations into state governments and government programs.
Under both EJCPS and EJG2G programs, EPA will be giving special consideration to the following focus areas:
- Projects addressing climate change, disaster resiliency, and/or emergency preparedness
- Projects located in and/or benefitting rural areas
- Projects conducting Health Impact Assessments (HIA)
Applicants interested must submit proposal packages on or before April 10, 2023, to be considered for the available funding. Applicants should plan for projects to begin on October 1, 2023.
This funding builds on additional funding from the American Rescue Plan. In December 2021, EPA selected 154 organizations to receive a total of approximately $18.4 million in environmental justice grant funding.
EPA is planning to announce an additional environmental justice grant competition, making extensive use of IRA resources, in early 2023 to establish a network of grant-makers across the United States to facilitate awarding assessment, planning, and project development grants to communities and their partners.
Pre-application Assistance Webinars
EPA will host pre-application assistance webinars to answer prospective applicant questions about the EJ grant process.
To attend the first webinar on January 24, 2023 focused on EJCPS, register here.
To attend the second webinar on January 26, 2023 focused on EJG2G, register here.
Learn more information about environmental justice grant funding.
Learn more information about the Inflation Reduction Act.
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Author: Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR)