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Four New York Non-Profits Receive Grants To Address Environmental Justice Concerns; Groups Will Use Money to Address Air, Water, Solid Waste and Migrant Worker Issues

Release Date: 10/27/1999
Contact Information: Mary Mears (212) 637-3673 /

(#99169) New York, New York -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted nearly $63,000 to four non-profit groups in New York State to help them address environmental justice issues in their communities. The grants, which average $14,000 each, will benefit communities in New York City, Orange County and the Albany area.

"By awarding these grants, EPA hopes to empower members of minority or low-income communities by giving them a voice and to ensure that they do not shoulder a disproportionate share of pollution," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator. "All Americans deserve to be protected from pollution -- not just those who can afford to live in wealthy communities."

The grant recipients in New York were:

Centro Independiente Trabajadores Agricolas (CITA), Florida, (520) 577-6390

Project: Project ACCESS: Farmworker Action for Safe Healthy Food and Environment

Funding Awarded: $14,000

Approximately 90% of the 12,000 farmworkers in New York's Hudson Valley are Latino immigrants from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean with an average annual income of $7,000 for a family of four. The workers' average life expectancy is age 55, which is below average. This may be attributed, in part, to their close, daily contact with chemical pesticides. CITA will use EPA grant funding to help farmworkers in the New York Hudson Valley protect themselves from dangerous pesticides while also helping to improve food safety. CITA will monitor compliance with EPA's worker protection standards and train 12 farmworker leaders ("voceros"), who will serve as leaders in the farmworker community, teaching about pesticides, serving on the boards of key regional organizations, and facilitating compliance with worker protection standards.

Council on the Environment, Inc.; New York, New York

Project: Greenpoint/Williamsburg Environmental Education Project

Funding Awarded: $14,000

Since 1995, the Council on the Environment has been empowering students to improve environmental conditions in their low-income, racially-diverse community through the Greenpoint/Williamsburg Environmental Education Project. The Council has taught students how to reach out effectively to community residents, businesses, and government officials. EPA's environmental justice grant will pay for a trainer to work with students in two area schools. At one school, students will learn about air quality issues by conducting air monitoring projects and educating local residents. At the second school, students will evaluate industrial toxics within the community, educate area residents, and work with two major local polluters to reduce toxic chemical use. In the past, a similar program was successful in assessing and reducing toxic chemical use in area automotive body shops.

The Point Community Development Corporation, Bronx, New York

Project: Hunts Point Community Composting Pilot Program (HPCCPP)

Funding Awarded: $14,300

The Point Community Development Corporation (CDC) will conduct a year-long community composting pilot program in Hunts Point, a low-income, minority area in the South Bronx. For the first month, CDC will monitor the volume and weight of the unseparated solid waste output of 25 volunteer households. Then, CDC will educate members of these households about effective composting techniques and supply them with carbon-filtered compost containers. Three times per week, the separated compost material will be picked up, measured, and deposited at CDC's composting facility for its Henry Font Memorial Garden. This effort will allow CDC to evaluate the effectiveness of a residential compost program in reducing the City's overall solid waste output. The long-term goal of the program is to educate and encourage Hunts Point residents to adopt composting as an effective means to improve environmental conditions in their own community.

Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation; Albany, New York

Project: Community Monitoring Urban Watershed Project

Funding Awarded: $19,822.95

The Arbor Hill community includes five predominantly African American neighborhoods in Albany, New York that have been impacted by an array of environmental issues over the past few years. The Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation will use this grant to gather data on pollution sources that could affect water quality in the Patroon Watershed. Particular attention will be given to the areas within the Mercury Refining Facility Superfund Site and near the Patroon Creek. Community members will investigate water and soil contamination. This information will be used to assess the impact of current land use trends and serve to influence future regional development and cleanup decisions.

For more information contact:

Mary Mears, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3669 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: