For Release: Thursday, June 9, 2011
DEC Launches $1 Million Environmental Justice Grant Initiative for Community Projects
Grant Outreach Workshops to Be Held Across the State
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced $1 million is available to be awarded in Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants (EJ Grants) to organizations serving communities facing multiple sources of environmental harms and risks.
"These grants will provide grassroots, community-based organizations with an important tool to continue their research on how environmental factors adversely influence the quality of life of the state's minority and low-income populations," Commissioner Martens said. "The EJ grants are just one part of our ongoing commitment to environmental justice throughout New York State."
The grants are funded through the Environmental Justice Community Impact Research Grant program. Launched in 2006 with input from the DEC Office of Environmental Justice's Environmental Justice Advisory Group, the program helps local organizations with projects to address environmental and public health concerns. The program concentrates on communities that are historically overburdened by problems such as a high density of contaminated sites; noise, air and water pollution; health problems; and a lack of green space and waterfront access.
Individual awards will range from $2,500 to $50,000. A wide variety of projects are eligible for funding, including community gardens and green roofs, air and water quality monitoring, lead poisoning prevention, urban forestry, subsistence fishing education, environmental education for urban youth, inventories of local pollution sources, and green worker training. Applications are due Friday, September 9, 2011, and awards are expected to be made in November. During the last funding cycle in 2008, DEC awarded 50 grants totaling $1.6 million.
The Office of Environmental Justice will hold a series of grant outreach workshops across the state in June and July to provide interested organizations with detailed information about the EJ grants and the application process. Community-based organizations, community leaders, residents, elected officials, media and other interested stakeholders are welcome to participate.
Workshops will be held in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany on June 14, June 15, June 16 and June 20 respectively. Workshops are also scheduled in Manhattan on June 20, Staten Island on June 21, Queens on June 22, the Bronx on June 23 and on Long Island on June 28 and 29. Additional workshops will be scheduled in Brooklyn, Westchester and Newburgh. More information on these workshops can be found on the DEC website.
"DEC's Office of Environmental Justice focuses on improving the environment in communities facing disproportionately adverse environmental impacts," Aimee J. Vargas, Director of the Office of Environmental Justice, said.
The mission of DEC's Office of Environmental Justice is to ensure the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.
For more information on the EJ Grants, the upcoming workshops or the Environmental Justice Advisory Group, please call Aimee J. Vargas, Esq., at (518) 402-8556 or visit the DEC Environmental Justice website.