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EPA recognizes Northeast Denver Environmental Initiative

Release Date: 3/6/2003
Contact Information:
303 312-6518

      Denver -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8 -- encompassing Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming -- received national recognition for four community revitalization projects from the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (IWG). The IWG selected 15 projects out of 40 proposals nationwide. Three of the designated projects are tribal and one focuses on the environmental and health risks of northeast Denver.

      The Northeast Denver Environmental Initiative (NDEI) is building on existing partnerships to develop a comprehensive environmental plan for communities that experience a disproportionate amount of environmental and public health risks. Northeast Denver has over 58,000 residents in five distinct communities. Ethnic or racial minorities are 83 percent of the population, compared with 24 percent for Colorado. Almost three times as many families live in poverty in northeast Denver than in the rest of Colorado.

      According to EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, northeast Denver residents are exposed to 10 times as many hazardous air pollutants as the residents of greater Denver County. Blood levels in children tested are more than twice the national average.

      The NDEI's goal is to develop and demonstrate a model of government that better meets the needs of environmental justice communities. Specifically, it seeks to improve government's response to community concerns, expand community involvement and build capacity, establish measures of environmental success, and improve coordination among government agencies, community organizations and industries. The ultimate goal is to reduce or prevent future health risks of those most impacted by environmental degradation -- the citizens of northeast Denver.

      "These projects embody the benefits of partnership in strengthening communities culturally, economically and environmentally. To have four of the 15 designated projects in Region 8 is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our communities," Assistant Regional Administrator Carol Rushin said.