CalEPA Funding for Environmental Justice Grants Doubles for Second Consecutive Year

For Immediate Release

July 8, 2016 Contact: Alex Barnum, (916) 324-9670

SACRAMENTO—The California Environmental Protection Agency today announced more than $1.1 million in grants to 25 organizations statewide to improve environmental and health conditions and promote public engagement in California communities disproportionately burdened by pollution.

The $1.1 million in funding for the 2016 Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants program represents a doubling over last year’s $500,000 in grants and a four-fold increase over 2013 when the program provided $250,000 in grants to 13 organizations.

“We are pleased that this year we have doubled the number of funded projects and doubled the amount of funding per project,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriquez. “This reflects our commitment to environmental justice and will have a greater impact toward improving health and quality of life in our most vulnerable communities.”

The grants were awarded to community-based nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribal governments throughout California. Grant recipients are located in Northern, Southern and Central California, in inland and coastal communities.

Projects selected for the EJ grants address a variety of issues, including improving access to safe and clean water, mitigating impacts of climate change and reducing the potential for exposure to pesticides and toxic chemicals. Many projects also focus on reducing the cumulative impacts of multiple pollution sources and equipping residents of disadvantaged communities to participate in environmental decision-making at both local and state levels.

Funds for this program are provided by the boards, departments and office within CalEPA. The CalEPA EJ Small Grants Program was established by Assembly Bill 2312 (Chu, Chapter 994, Statutes of 2002) to provide grants to eligible nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribal governments. Since its inception, the program has awarded 106 grants totaling $2.8 million.

This year’s grants include the following:

Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), southern Los Angeles, Watts ($48,265) LACAN will provide environmental justice and health education to residents living in the Jordan Downs Public Housing Complex in Los Angeles. LACAN will also educate community members on soil and groundwater contamination, air quality, toxic chemicals and how to participate in the government decision-making process. LACAN will facilitate a community health assessment project in conjunction with health professionals from Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles.

Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), Central Valley, Merced County, Planada, Le Grand ($50,000) – RCAC will install ten new water filling stations in Planada and Le Grand in Merced County to improve access to safe and clean water and increase water consumption. RCAC will provide education to community residents on water safety and the importance of water consumption. RCAC will partner with Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) and Merced Building Healthy Communities to conduct outreach to the targeted communities.

Big Valley Band (Big Valley Band) of Pomo Indians, Northern California, Lake County ($50,000) – The Big Valley Band will collect samples of three fish and shellfish species for cyanotoxin analysis to develop adaptation strategies to ensure the safe consumption of Tribally important fish at subsistence levels. The results will be shared with other Pomo Tribes in the Lake County area, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the public, and Clear Lake Cyanobacteria Task Force to determine viable safe fish consumption options. The Big Valley Tribe will also work with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and OEHHA to develop a monitoring strategy framework for the project.

View a complete list of 2016 grantees.