Today, Sens. Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.) highlighted the Delaware winners of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2012 Environmental Justice Small Grants. The competitive grants, announced by the EPA this morning, were awarded to the Clean Air Council and the Southeastern Rural Community Assistance Project, both located in Delaware, as well as 48 other non-profit and tribal organizations throughout the United States working to address environmental justice issues nationwide. The Natural Lands Trust, located in Pennsylvania, which does work in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey to benefit the Delaware Estuary, is also among this year's winners. The EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants enable non-profit organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution.
"Protecting and improving the air we breathe and the water we drink is a critical effort at local, state and federal levels," said Sen. Carper. "But in these challenging economic times, many communities can't afford to make the proper investments in projects that help protect the health of families up and down the First State. Through the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Justice Small Grants, these two Delaware organizations can now move forward with their work addressing the environmental challenges impacting Delawareans, ultimately improving our environment, protecting public health and expanding communities' economic opportunities."
"Having clean air, waterways and natural resources helps protect the health of our communities and keeps our ecosystem in balance," said Sen. Coons. "It's important that we invest in conserving our environment so future generations can enjoy Delaware's abundant natural resources. These environmental justice grants will allow for the implementation of programs and research to protect the health and vitality of the First State."
"There's nothing more important to the health of our community than ensuring that the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean and safe," said Congressman Carney. "These Environmental Justice Grants will provide needed resources to local organizations focused on improving Delaware's air and water quality, educating Delawareans about potential risks in the environment, and maintaining healthy communities. It's important work that benefits everyone in our state."
The 2012 grants support activities that address a range of community concerns including restoring and protecting waterways, reducing exposure to air pollutants from diesel exhaust and seeking healthier alternatives to household pesticides.
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. Since 1994, EPA's environmental justice small grants program has supported projects to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,300 communities. The grants represent EPA's continued commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.