Monday, April 06, 2009

New Environmental Justice Grants for Chicago and Milwaukee

What is ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE??? In the United States, minority and low-income communities are disproportionately exposed to comparatively high levels of pollution and health risks. For example, in the early 1990's it was recognized that 96% of all hazardous waste dumping sites were in predominately minority owned communities. The federal government's Environmental Justice program aims to help these folk by ensuring fair treatment and meaningful involvement for everyone affected in the environmental decision-making process. The federal government has been issuing grants for the past 15 years to address these issues.

Nation-wide, $800,000 in grants to organizations working with communities facing environmental justice challenges will be distributed throughout the country. Forty grants, up to $20,000 each, are going to community-based organizations and local and tribal governments in 28 states for community projects aimed at addressing environmental and public health issues.

In April, The Metropolitan Tenants Association in Chicago is receiving $19,940 to educate low-income individuals in rental buildings about lead poisoning and pesticide use. The project will focus on education, inspection and abatement in 40-70 multiple-unit buildings, housing a projected 1,000 renters.

Also in April, People for Community Recovery in Chicago is going to receive $19,966 for a project called "Environmental Justice through Education and Exploration." The organization will work with youth ages 14-18 in the predominantly African-American Altgeld Gardens public housing project on the harmful effects of environmental hazards in the air, water and water.

The City of Milwaukee is receiving a grant for $20,000 to raise awareness of how human actions affect storm water runoff and water pollution. The training will be provided in English, Spanish, Hmong and Lao languages by peer educators at local schools and neighborhood and faith-based organization meetings.