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EPA selects Salt Lake City neighborhoods as Environmental Justice Showcase Community

Release Date: 11/17/2009
Contact Information: Corbin Darling, EPA, 303-312-6426 Renette Anderson, Utah DEQ, 801-536-4478

EPA, Utah DEQ, other partners to focus on children’s health

(Denver, Colo. - November 17, 2009) – U.S Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced a national initiative to address environmental justice challenges in 10 communities, including an area in central and west Salt Lake City. EPA has committed $1 million to this effort over the next two years.

”These 10 communities will serve as models for the EPA's committed environmental justice efforts, and help highlight the disproportionate environmental burdens placed on low-income and minority communities all across the nation,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “By expanding the conversation on environmentalism, we can give a voice to vulnerable groups that haven’t always had a voice on these issues. Our 10 Showcase Communities will provide lessons for how we make every community a better place for people to live, for business to invest and bring jobs, and for opportunities to grow.”

The selected Environmental Justice Showcase Communities will use collaborative, community-based approaches to improve public health and the environment. EPA will provide $100,000 per project to help address concerns in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental risks. These demonstration projects will test and share information on different approaches to increase EPA’s ability to achieve environmental results in communities.

As part of the EJ Showcase Community effort, EPA has chosen six neighborhoods in central and west Salt Lake City as the focus of a Children’s Environmental Health and Environmental Justice initiative. The neighborhoods include Glendale, Jordan Meadows, Poplar Grove, Rose Park, State Fairpark and Westpointe. EPA selected this area based on the presence of several environmental risk factors and the community's support and past participation in addressing environmental issues.

The multi-agency initiative will seek to identify and reduce children's exposure to contaminants from multiple pathways. EPA will work closely with the community and other federal, state and local agencies to identify issues of concern and develop and apply tools to address those issues. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality and the Utah Department of Health will be key partners in this effort. The state of Utah has developed a tracking system that will provide baseline health and environmental data and help the partnership achieve results.

EPA’s Region 8 headquarters in Denver will work with its state and local government and community partners to implement the initiative in Salt Lake City. The Region 8 office has an extensive track record in protecting the health and environment of vulnerable populations including children and low-income and minority communities. Recent examples include the retrofitting of 125 school buses to reduce concentrations of in-cabin fine particulate emissions by 56 percent, and the distribution of more than 1500 radon test kits in Pueblo to identify and mitigate exposure risk in Pueblo, Colo. Also, 192 homes and public buildings were recently screened for lead-based paint on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming leading to increased awareness and mitigation. Last year, a total of 86 schools in the region have been cleaned of 29,202 pounds of dangerous and hazardous chemicals and the chemicals properly disposed. This has made schools safer for more than 29,000 school children.

Since 1994, EPA has provided more than $32 million in general funding to more than 1,100 community-based organizations.

More information on environmental justice and the Environmental Justice Showcase Communities: