The Biden administration has a new strategy for getting federal funding to grassroots environmental groups


The Biden administration has a new strategy for getting federal funding to grassroots environmental groups -Gudstory

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The Environmental Protection Agency today named 11 “grant makers,” universities and nonprofit organizations that will be in charge of awarding $600 million in federal funds to locally led environmental projects. It’s a new strategy aimed at making it easier for small grassroots groups – particularly those most burdened by pollution – to access funding.

Those groups will be able to apply for subgrants from EPA grantmakers, who are tasked with overseeing funding for certain areas. The 11 funders include some of the most prominent voices fighting the legacy of environmental racism and injustice in America.

This includes the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), made up of member organizations from across the US – from Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization UPROSE, to the climate change movement in Flint, Michigan, to the Asian Pacific Environmental Network in California. For years, CJA has called on lawmakers and philanthropists, including the Bezos Earth Fund, to put more money into the hands of community-based organizations representing neighborhoods most affected by pollution and climate change.

There has been a lot of research that shows how communities of color and low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed

Texas Southern University, a historically black university, is another notable grant maker. It is home to the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, which was founded by none other than the man often called the father of environmental justice: Robert Bullard. In 1990 he published a book named dumping in dixie About toxic waste sites located in black communities across America. The book explores the connections between race, class, and environmental health.

Since then, there has been much research showing how communities of color and low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to environmental risks. For example, a 2019 study found that non-Hispanic white Americans have a “pollution advantage” in the US and that they actually live with about 17 percent less air pollution caused by their consumer habits. Live. Black and Hispanic Americans, on the other hand, are exposed to about 60 percent more particulate pollution on average than pollution associated with their consumption.

“I want to personally thank EPA and the Biden Harris Administration for selecting Texas Southern University,” Bullard said on the EPA press call. “We will look and monitor whether these funds and these priorities deliver justice to communities who have a long history of being left out in some way or another when it comes to funding.”

Vice President Kamala Harris said during a call with reporters that grantmakers are expected to be able to review and approve grant applications faster than a federal agency. “Not with all the bureaucracy, not in years, but in months. This means our investments will get on the road more quickly,” Harris said. “For a long time, we have heard from leaders of the environmental justice movement that a significant barrier to funding their work is the federal grant-making process itself. “Applications can take years to be approved, and in general, the process favors larger national organizations over smaller local organizations.”

Each grant maker will be able to create its own application process and will have between $50 and $100 million to award subgrants. This funding could be awarded as early as next summer and can be used for cleanup projects, emergency preparedness, clean energy workforce development, health programs and more. The grant program was established in the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest US investment ever in climate action.

When? the verge Asked how the grantees were selected, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in the press call that each of them “demonstrated a very strong governance structure that creates accountability” and that the agency selected 11. “It “Knowing that they will be able to channel these resources in a way that will ensure the communities that need them most get them.” Grantees will still work with EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights to issue subgrants.

CJA, for one thing, isn’t shying away from calling out the Biden administration for funding a “false solution.” This includes billions of dollars spent in new technologies to filter planet-warming carbon dioxide from the air or capture the gas from smoke emissions. CJA has supported investment in renewable energy that fights climate change while eliminating other types of pollution from oil, gas, and coal facilities. As a new grant maker, it might be able to move the needle a little more in that direction.


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