CHICAGO (Nov. 4, 2005) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today announced that Muskegon will be among the first 12 communities in the nation to receive funding under the Agency's new Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) grant program. The Muskegon County Environmental Coordinating Council, a nonprofit organization, will receive a $103,418 grant to address top local priorities as identified by Muskegon County residents.
Last year, results of a 2-year local study showed that Muskegon residents are most concerned about exposure to lead-based paint, contaminated drinking water and septic systems, air quality, contaminated fisheries and recycling. CARE grants are designed to help communities like Muskegon
find solutions to their most pressing problems.
"The CARE grant will help expand Muskegon County's ongoing efforts," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "EPA also will work closely with the Muskegon County Environmental Coordinating Council to provide technical support and collaborate as the people of Muskegon work to improve their environment and their quality of life."
MCECC is the leader of an established, broad-based collaborative partnership which includes representatives from local and state agencies, businesses and advocacy groups.
MCECC will use the grant money to advance the following five goals:
"The Muskegon County Environmental Coordinating Council is very pleased to have the opportunity to help address community environmental concerns through EPA's CARE program," said Jill Montgomery, chair of MCECC. "Becoming a CARE community will allow for increased cooperation between all entities to both remediate and protect our resources."
- Inform residents and visitors of health risks/benefits of eating locally caught fish;
- Improve understanding of "self-contamination" issues at households that rely on private wells for drinking water;
- Get more children in Muskegon County tested for lead poisoning;
- Raise local awareness of the health effects from airborne pollutants from local industries; and
- Expand local recycling efforts.
In addition to the CARE grant, EPA will also provide $50,000 worth of contract services to MCECC to help it analyze opportunities to redevelop brownfields.
EPA received 135 applications for CARE grants. For more information on EPA's new CARE program, go to www.epa.gov/care.
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