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Release Date: 04/15/2003
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, EPA Media Relations, 404-562-8421
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized four communities in the southeast selected as Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) Environmental Justice Revitalization Projects. Nationally, fifteen projects were selected. The purpose of the demonstration projects is to examine how collaborative models can be utilized for achieving environmental justice and promoting community revitalization. Selection is not accompanied by any specific funding commitment from any federal agency; however, selection will bring the project national exposure and recognition, provide greater access to resources from various stakeholders, and promote the project as a model for future collaborative partnerships.

"EPA is proud to recognize communities in the southeast that have been selected as Revitalization Projects and we appreciate the work their citizens do to address the multiple environmental, health, economic and social concerns of their communities," said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta, Georgia. "Our collaborative efforts will help to achieve environmental justice, where everyone, regardless of race, culture, or income, enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work."

The four community revitalization projects include the following:

City of Anniston, Alabama
Vision 2020: For the Children of Anniston-Children's Health Environmental Justice Project

Vision 2020
seeks to address the health and developmental problems of children growing up in the midst of decades of environmental contamination, most notably lead and PCBs. The initiative seeks to provide Anniston with a world class education, screening, early detection, and treatment program to identify and treat health and developmental disorders at the earliest stage possible.

ACTION, Inc., Belle Glade, Florida
Glades Area Environmental Justice Training Collaborative

Federal public health and environmental agencies are assisting a partnership, led by Active Citizens Together Improving Our Neighborhoods, Inc. (ACTION) and Florida Atlantic University-Center for Urban Redevelopment and Empowerment (FAU-CURE), to provide environmental justice training and capacity building for residents of the Glades area in the Florida Everglades. The project seeks to create an informed citizenry, armed with the information and skills necessary to be a meaningful part of the decision-making process. The initial focus of this project will be drinking water quality issues and community health concerns.

City of Princeville, North Carolina
The Sustainable Redevelopment and Revitalization of Princeville

The overall objective of the project is to implement a bold new plan to rebuild the town and make it better than before. The city expects to function as a thriving town that can educate its youth, be a place of employment, and foster a healthy and growing population. The upgrade and extension of infrastructure, services and quality of life activities is necessary in order to aggressively pursue opportunities to substantially raise the town's economic opportunities.

Rock Hill Council of Neighborhoods, Rock Hill, South Carolina
The Arcade-Westside Area Revitalization Project: A Community-Based Collaboration

The Council has resolved to engage in community revitalization to address the environmental justice concerns of the neighborhoods in the city's Arcade-Westside Area. The city's revitalization and redevelopment plans center on the area hardest hit by the loss of the textile industry. Projects already underway include renovation of two abandoned textile mills into a senior citizens housing and activity center, and creation of affordable housing and business space. This partnership is now poised to aggressively seek federal assistance to fulfil the community's multi-faceted vision of a revitalized urban core.

IWG Environmental Justice Revitalization Projects are designed to demonstrate the collaborative models to achieve environmental justice and promote community revitalization. The projects selected are intended to demonstrate the ''best practices'' of comprehensive, collaborative, and integrated problem-solving approaches and address the range of interrelated environmental, public health, economic, social concerns that collectively are known as environmental justice issues. These projects are based upon voluntary, local partnerships that build upon a holistic community vision. Centered in urban, tribal and rural communities across the country, the demonstration projects focus on improving the quality of life for minority, low-income, and tribal populations through environmental protection, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, community education, public health promotion, and capacity building.

IWG demonstration projects foster proactive, collaborative efforts that bring agencies, at all levels of government, to partner with diverse stakeholders in impacted communities. Together at ''the table'' for the first time, in some cases, participants: (1) Better understand each other's perspectives; (2) identify mutual interests and priorities; and (3) with this broader and shared view, mobilize existing resources (i.e., social, human, and financial resources) for the purpose of creating win-win solutions.