The EPA Region 6 Announces a Total of $23 Million to Organizations to Advance Environmental Justice
[ Article originally appeared in www.epa.gov ]
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced The Deep South for Environmental Justice and the New Mexico State University has been selected to serve as Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCTACs) that will receive at least $10 million each to help communities across the Region 6 access funds from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice will receive $13,000,000 and the New Mexico State University will receive $10,000,000.
“We know that so many communities across the nation have the solutions to the environmental challenges they face. Unfortunately, many have lacked access or faced barriers when it comes to the crucial federal resources needed to deliver these solutions,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today we’re taking another step to break down these barriers. Establishing these Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers across the nation will ensure all communities can access benefits from the President’s historic agenda, which includes groundbreaking investments in clean air, clean water, and our clean energy future.”
“For far too long, overburdened, underserved, and rural communities have lacked the resources and technical assistance they need from the federal government to overcome barriers critical to their energy needs and create new, long-lasting economic opportunities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE now has historic levels of new funding to pull from to help revitalize disadvantaged communities across the nation and ensure they’re not left behind in our transition to a clean energy future.”
“Thanks to the focus of this Administration, we are delivering crucial solutions to communities who have long faced multiple barriers to achieving equitable outcomes,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “This funding will create a hub for communities to access fundamental resources and shows that EPA is listening to communities with environmental needs. I would like to thank the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and the New Mexico State University for their legacy of advancing environmental justice and serving in this new role to benefit our region.”
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice was founded in 1992 and is considered the longest running environmental justice center dedicated to improving the lives of children and families harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change through research, education, community, and student engagement, as well as environmental, health and safety workforce training. The DSCEJ plans to establish a Community Investment and Recovery Center as a Technical Assistance Center to serve rural, remote, and underserved communities in each of the states located in Regions 4 and 6.
The New Mexico State University plans to lead an experienced team of community-based partners to create the multi-faceted South-Central Environmental Justice Resource Center. SCEJRC activities will focus on providing relevant outreach programming and resources within Region 6 to enhance environmental and energy justice, with a focus on disinvested populations in underserved communities and those in rural and remote areas.
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and the New Mexico State University are among 17 Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers, or EJ TCTACs, the EPA announced to receive a total of more than $177 million to remove barriers and improve accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. With this critical investment, these centers will provide training and other assistance to build capacity for navigating federal grant application systems, writing strong grant proposals, and effectively managing grant funding. In addition, these centers will provide guidance on community engagement, meeting facilitation, and translation and interpretation services for limited English-speaking participants, thus removing barriers and improving accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. Each of the technical assistance centers will also create and manage communication channels to ensure all communities have direct access to resources and information.
The EPA will deliver these resources in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, whose funding allows the EJ TCTACs to provide support for identifying community opportunities for clean energy transition and financing options, including public-private partnerships supporting clean energy demonstration, deployment, workforce development and outreach opportunities that advance energy justice objectives.
The formation of the EJ technical assistance centers is in direct response to feedback from communities and environmental justice leaders who have long called for technical assistance and capacity building support for communities and their partners as they work to access critical federal resources. The 17 centers will provide comprehensive coverage for the entire United States through a network of over 160 partners including community-based organizations, additional academic institutions, and Environmental Finance Centers, so that more communities can access federal funding opportunities like those made available through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
In addition to Region 6's selectees, the EPA has selected three national EJ TCTACS that will provide additional assistance across the country, with particular capacity to assist tribes, including:
Additional award information for each selectee will be announced in Summer 2023.
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