Jan 21, 2011

EPA Seeks Applications for Community-Based Environmental Grants

Grants will help communities address local health and pollution issues

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making $2 million available in 2011 to reduce pollution at the local level through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. CARE is a community-based program that works with county and local governments, tribes, non-profit organizations and universities to help the public understand and reduce toxic risks from numerous sources to protect people’s health.

EPA will award CARE cooperative agreements in two levels. Level I awards range from $75,000 to $100,000 and will help establish community-based partnerships to develop local environmental priorities. Level II awards, ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 each, will support communities that have established broad-based partnerships, identified the priority toxic risks in their communities and are prepared to measure results, implement risk-reduction activities and become self-sustaining.

In 2010, EPA’s CARE program distributed $2 million in 14 communities. Among the grant recipients, projects included tackling drinking water and storm water pollution, solid waste and toxics issues in Cordova, Alaska; addressing air and water pollution sources, municipal solid waste collection and chemical releases in Ashland, Ky.; targeting pest and solid waste issues in New York City; tackling air pollution and land use issues in Detroit; focusing on threats from lead in paint, mold and hazardous household products in Gary, Ind.; and addressing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and poor waste management in Kansas City, Kan.

Since 2005, 81 communities in 39 states and territories have used CARE grants to help reduce pollution and protect people’s health. A recent evaluation by the National Assn. of Public Administrators (NAPA) recognized the CARE program as a solid tested framework for engaging communities and other stakeholders.

Applications for the CARE grants are due March 22 at 4:00 p.m. EPA will conduct three webcasts to answer questions from prospective applicants about the application process on Feb. 8, Feb. 23 and March 2 from 1 to 3 p.m.