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EPA Awards Mississippi Conference of Black Mayors a 2014 Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement

Release Date: 09/16/2014
Contact Information: Jason McDonald, (404) 562-9203 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

September 16, 2014

(09/16/14) ATLANTA – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a competitive cooperative agreement with the Mississippi Conference of Black Mayors (MCBM) to reduce lead exposure and mitigate the negative impacts of old, inadequate housing stock for low-income, minority families and children throughout the Mississippi Delta. The agreement is one of 12 EPA has reached with community-based organizations nationwide, totaling about $1.4 million in funding, under this initiative.

“These cooperative agreements empower communities to implement environmental protection projects locally,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “With these agreements, EPA advances our commitment to communities by providing financial and technical assistance to take action against environmental harm.”

The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding for non-profit and tribal organizations to partner with stakeholders from across industry, government, and academia to develop and implement solutions that significantly address environmental and/or public health issues in American communities.

Through its “Mississippi Delta Child Lead Reduction Plan”, the MCBM will create a network of African American mayors, health care providers, and community members. These groups will be tasked with increasing community awareness and education about the harmful effects of lead exposure, common sources of household sources of lead, and preventative techniques. This collaborative effort seeks to develop and implement a “Lead Contamination Action Plan” that will help to identify the homes that have significant exposures, work with area health care facilities to test children’s toys and clothing for lead residue, and develop and implement lead abatement measures.

In 2003, EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) launched the first solicitation for the EJCPS Cooperative Agreement Program. Since the Program’s inception, EPA has provided funding to 50 projects to help communities understand and address exposure to environmental harms and risks. Each of this year’s recipients are awarded up to $120,000 to support two-year projects, including identifying and reducing sources of air pollution, reducing lead exposure in homes of low-income residents, and the cleanup and repurposing of community dump sites. Projects must use the Collaborative Problem Solving model, comprised of seven elements of a successful collaborative partnership, to address local environmental and/or public health issues.

Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process. These awards represent EPA’s commitment to promoting localized, community-based actions to address environmental justice issues.

Please visit for a complete listing of the 2014 Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement recipients and project descriptions.

In the fall of 2014, EPA plans to release a Request for Applications for the fiscal year 2015 Environmental Justice Small Grants Program. A schedule of pre-application teleconference calls will be announced at that time.

More information about EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement Program: