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Bushwick, Brooklyn Group Receives Environmental Justice Grant from EPA

Release Date: 03/25/2009
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664,

(New York, N.Y.) Over the next year, residents and visitors who live and work around Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York will be learning about and exchanging important environmental information with Make the Road New York to combat the risks of lead paint poisoning and exposure to pesticides, thanks to an environmental justice grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The community-based organization will utilize surveys, community meetings and other participatory tools to conduct research and educate communities on the dangers of exposure to a variety of toxic substances commonly found in urban settings. Acting EPA Regional Administrator George Pavlou presented the $20,000 grant to members of Make the Road New York during a ceremony held today in Brooklyn.

“EPA's environmental justice grants are an important tool for ensuring that all our communities are equally protected from environmental hazards," said George Pavlou, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. "This partnership with Make the Road New York will help empower local communities to learn and take steps to combat environmental health hazards where they live, gather and work.”

"This EPA environmental Justice grant will greatly help Make the Road NY conduct research and educate the community in order to reduce the toxic risks of lead paint and pesticides in Bushwick,” said Make the Road’s Jesse Goldman. “Lead poisoning and exposure to pesticides are some of the most serious environmental health threats facing children today.” Make the Road New York promotes economic justice, equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers through community, advocacy and many other support services.

The research will identify the level of exposure to those risks and the reasons for that exposure. Residents will be educated on ways they can reduce their individual and household exposure, the dangers of lead paint poisoning and how to identify household toxics. Make the Road will promote healthier alternatives, such as the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices as an alternative to toxic household pesticides.

This week, EPA announced that it is awarding approximately $800,000 in grants to organizations working with communities facing environmental justice challenges throughout the country. Forty grants, up to $20,000 each, are going to community-based organizations and local and tribal governments in 28 states for community projects aimed at addressing environmental and public health issues. In the 15 years since initiating the environmental justice small grants program, EPA has awarded more than $20 million in funding to assist 1,130 community-based organizations and local and tribal governments.

The following organizations in EPA Region 2 also received grants this week:

Heart of Camden, Inc. (Camden, NJ)
Studying and identifying the environmental and public health issues in Camden City, NJ. Specifically, it will develop a comprehensive environmental health information tool, consisting of emissions data, contaminated soil sites, the status of pending air pollution mitigation and site remediation effort data. A description of known and potential health effects, related to the identified pollutants will be developed. In addition, the project will analyze and compare the hospital utilization rates of Waterfront and South-Central Camden community members (i.e., for respiratory and cardiovascular disease) to other urban and suburban New Jersey communities.

Green Faith (New Brunswick, NJ)
Studying air monitoring efforts and truck route identification related to operations at Port Newark, NJ. Toxic releases from this area will be identified by community youth and adult residents. The recipient will perform broad-based outreach and education on the results of these efforts to a range of Newark community and faith-based organizations. An Environmental Health and Justice Tour will be conducted for Newark residents. The project will provide the foundation for a long-range, comprehensive "greening" of Port Newark.

Healthy Schools Network, Inc. (Albany, NY)
Engaging low-income communities and their schools in learning how to avoid asthma triggers, and empowering them to take action to reduce these triggers. The recipient will identify and select 15 communities from among six New York State counties, based on hospital discharge asthma-mapping data and student profiles from the NYS Departments of Health and Education, respectively. School officials will be identified, educational forums conducted (including webinars, meetings and interactive workshops) and local partnerships cultivated. Recommended actions will be provided to local schools and their communities for follow-up.

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income in the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

For more information on the grants program: