LENEXA, Kan. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it has $3.5 million to fund six projects across Missouri that advance environmental justice as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
The organizations, which EPA has selected through its Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement and Environmental Justice Government-to-Government programs, will use the funds to ensure that disadvantaged communities that have historically suffered from underinvestment have access to clean air and water and climate resilience solutions, in alignment with the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 Initiative.
Thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act – the largest climate investment in U.S. history – this funding is a part of the largest investment ever announced under these two longstanding EPA programs. This is the first in a series of nvironmental justice grant announcements the Agency will announce before the end of the year.
“Environmental justice is at the heart of everything we do at EPA Region 7,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, our efforts across the region are supercharged, delivering federal funds to entities that have the potential to make the greatest impact on our communities.”
“The Biden administration’s commitment to environmental justice and the reinvestment in communities that have been historically overlooked was a central component to the President’s Inflation Reduction Act—and a key reason why I supported the legislation,” said U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II (MO-5). “Because of investments from the President’s signature climate law, we have an opportunity to fund environmental justice initiatives in communities across the country, including right here in Missouri’s 5th Congressional District. Not only will this ensure that every American has greater access to clean air and safe drinking water, but it will boost economic development in communities that need it most.”
The grants announced today deliver on President Biden’s commitment to advance equity and justice throughout the United States. The two grant programs directly advance the President’s transformational Justice40 Initiative to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.
Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Program
EPA’s EJCPS program provides financial assistance to eligible organizations working to address local environmental or public health issues in their communities. The program builds upon President Biden’s Executive Orders 13985 and 14008, creating a designation of funds exclusively for small nonprofit organizations, which are defined as having five or fewer full-time employees, thus ensuring that grant resources reach organizations of lower capacity that historically struggle to receive federal funding.
EPA EJCPS grant selections in Missouri include:
- Springfield Community Gardens in Springfield has been selected to receive $500,000 for educating and empowering underserved urban and rural Greene County communities through sustainable, organic food production.
- PedNet Coalition Inc. in Columbia has been selected to receive $500,000 to address the environmental justice and public health issues caused by the auto-centric transportation system in Columbia and develop a long-range transit master plan that will allow the city to build out an effective public transit system.
- Gamaliel Foundation in Kansas City has been selected to receive $500,000 to develop and pilot Climate Action Hubs in each of four metropolitan regions where they have affiliate organizations. In each community, the foundation will develop hubs of environmental justice resources at local congregations. Hubs will be physical sites that offer climate readiness and environmental justice programs and resources for community members.
- Heartland Conservation Alliance Inc. in Kansas City has been selected to receive $500,000 to provide tools and resources to residents, city staff, and nonprofit organizations to implement green solutions.
- Bridging The Gap Inc. in Kansas City has been selected to receive $500,000 to provide education to city residents in low life-expectancy ZIP codes and to switch their homes from outdated appliances to clean electricity.
Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) Program
EPA’s EJG2G grants provide funding at the state, local, territorial, and tribal level to support government activities, in partnership with community-based organizations, that lead to measurable environmental or public health impacts in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms.
EPA EJG2G grant selection in Missouri:
- The City of Kansas City has been selected to receive $1 million to screen for, identify, and mitigate lead on vacant properties selected for redevelopment and reuse. A four-step triage system will be used to focus remediation efforts on the most contaminated lots and efficiently guide properties verified to be clean into productive reuse and redevelopment.
From day one of his administration, President Biden has made achieving environmental justice a top priority. In August 2022, Congress passed, and President Biden signed, the Inflation Reduction Act into law, creating the largest investment in environmental and climate justice in U.S. history. EPA received $3 billion in appropriations to provide grants and technical assistance for activities advancing environmental and climate justice.
Under the Inflation Reduction Act, EPA has launched and expanded innovative programs to provide more support than ever before to communities that unjustly bear the burdens of environmental harm and pollution. This includes the $177 million for the creation of 16 Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCTACs) to remove barriers to federal resources and help communities pursue funding opportunities, like those made available through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda. EPA has also launched and will award funds through the $550 million Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program before the end of 2023.
Learn more about environmental justice at EPA: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice