WASHINGTON (AP) – On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded grants for air quality monitoring projects in 37 states, with a focus on minority communities and other pollution-overloaded areas.
We are allocating $ 5 million # Air quality Monitoring grants for communities in Colorado, Montana, South Dakota and Utah! These grants will support community-centered projects that are underserved, historically marginalized and overburdened by pollution. pic.twitter.com/V7hd8IS0JA
– EPARegion8 (@ EPARegion8) November 3, 2022
A total of 132 projects will receive $ 53.4 million to improve air quality monitoring near chemical plants, refineries and other industrial sites, part of the Biden administration’s commitment to focus on environmental justice in negatively affected communities. decades of industrial pollution.
The grants are funded by the extensive climate and health law passed in August and the coronavirus relief plan approved by Congress last year.
“This money is directed to where it is most needed,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. The new funded projects “will ensure that dozens of overloaded communities have the tools they need to better understand the air quality challenges in their neighborhoods and help protect people from the dangers of air pollution,” he said. .
Eight funded projects are found in neighborhoods Regan visited on what he calls a “Journey to Justice” tour of communities plagued by long-term pollution.
“All people, no matter where they live, deserve clean water and clean air and the opportunity to live a healthy life,” said Regan, the first black man to head the EPA.
The grants follow the enforcement action announced by Regan in January to conduct unannounced inspections of chemical plants, refineries and other industrial sites in three Gulf Coast states suspected of polluting air and water and causing health problems for nearby residents.
Recipients include the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, a New Orleans-based defense group that pushed for stricter federal control of an 85-mile (137-kilometer) stretch from New Orleans to Baton Rouge officially known as the Corridor Mississippi River chemist, but more commonly referred to as Cancer Alley. The region contains several hotspots where cancer risks are far above levels deemed acceptable by the EPA. The group will receive nearly $ 500,000 to help community groups monitor air quality and “become more active and effective in civic engagement,” the EPA said.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has received nearly $ 480,000 to create and operate a temporary air monitoring site in St. James Parish, home to several petrochemical plants and refineries. The equipment will allow near real-time data on air quality, the EPA said.
The state agency will also receive $ 422,000 to conduct air quality monitoring in the Alexandria-Pineville area between two wood treatment plants.
The Louisiana Environmental Action Network will receive $ 500,000 to assess air quality throughout the Louisiana industrial corridor, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality will receive $ 500,000 to measure air pollution in the Cherokee community.
Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city by population, will receive $ 500,000 to monitor four dangerous air pollutants that pose a risk to local communities.
The complete list of projects is available.