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Community Program gets EPA Funding for Local Environmental Work

Release Date: 03/30/2009
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543,

PHILADELPHIA (March 30, 2009) --Southern Appalachian Labor School, a non-profit in Kincaid, West Virginia, is one of 40 organizations across the country to get federal funding for community-based environmental work. Southern Appalachian Labor School will use a $20,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to teach families how to reduce their exposure to harmful levels of lead and mercury in their coal-heated homes.

"Southern Appalachian Labor School's commitment to help families in West Virginia understand and prevent exposure to harmful environmental pollutants demonstrates the kind of local leadership that is vital to building strong public health protections for all Americans," said William T. Wisniewski, acting regional administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region.

Southern Appalachian Labor School’s environmental justice project will focus on low-income residents of coal camp houses in rural West Virginia. Intergenerational educational workshops and outreach will target residents in Fayette County to reduce potentially harmful exposure to lead and mercury from a variety of sources in their homes.

EPA’s funding to Southern Appalachian Labor School is part of the agency’s effort to assist communities dealing with environmental justice challenges. Since initiating the environmental justice small grants program 15 years ago, EPA has awarded $20 million in funding assisting 1,130 community-based organizations and local and tribal governments.

EPA's environmental justice small grants program provides financial support and empowerment to communities that are working on local solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The goal is to help create self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will strive to improve environmental conditions in underserved communities. For more information see: