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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $437,889 for Community Air Pollution Monitoring Project in Alabama

EPA Air - Thu, 11/03/2022 - 19:00

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (November 3, 2022) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Southern Research Institute to receive funding to conduct community air quality monitoring in two Birmingham communities. The grant is one of 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

“These grants will give communities in the Southeast the tools they need to better understand air quality challenges in their neighborhoods,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman.  “EPA’s investment in ARP funding will not only advance the agency’s mobile air monitoring labs and air sensor loan programs but improve the agency’s ability to support communities in need of short-term monitoring and air quality information.”

“This EPA funding, made possible by Democrats’ American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act, will be instrumental in our efforts to combat environmental injustice in Birmingham and make our air cleaner and healthier,” said Congresswoman Terri Sewell. “I welcome this much-needed investment and applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for delivering on their commitment to uplift Alabama’s underserved communities.”

This project will monitor criteria air pollutant concentrations in two underserved neighborhoods in Birmingham, Ala. as well as monitor concentrations of key volatile organic compounds including naphthalene and benzene.  The goal is to provide these communities with near-real time access to data on the quality of the air that they are breathing and better understand emission patterns and exposures. 

The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.

These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face  disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.  By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.

EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.

See the full list of applications selected for award

Background

In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants.  In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. . These investments will improve EPA's ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information. 

In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments.  EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $974,348 for Two Community Air Pollution Monitoring Projects in Georgia

EPA Air - Thu, 11/03/2022 - 19:00

ATLANTA (November 3, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Center for Sustainable Communities and Environmental Community Action Inc., to receive funding to conduct community air quality monitoring in several underserved communities. These grants are among 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

“These Community Air Monitoring Grants will improve and empower marginalized communities throughout Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. I thank both the Center for Sustainable Communities and Environmental Community Action Inc. for being co-conspirators for environmental justice. These grants are further proof that the Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan are investing in our communities and we’re just getting started,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“These grants will give communities in the Southeast the tools they need to better understand air quality challenges in their neighborhoods,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman.  “EPA’s investment in ARP funding will not only advance the agency’s mobile air monitoring labs and air sensor loan programs but improve the agency’s ability to support communities in need of short-term monitoring and air quality information.”

Center for Sustainable Communities - $498,401.00

MAP-USA will deploy commercially available PM2.5 sensors in 11 minority communities located in the region of South Atlanta, Georgia. Partnering with public schools, the monitors will be in areas where there is heightened concern over potential health impacts due to the proximity of these neighborhoods to heavily traveled transportation corridors, and for which there is no existing air quality monitoring capability. A non-profit organization with experience in managing community-based environmental and science and technology projects in Atlanta will lead the project with the assistance of experts at a Tier-1 research university that is anchored in the local community. The project will also develop leadership and analytical capacity in the community through technical training and the development of lesson plans that will be used with students at the schools where the monitors are located. The objective is to empower these under-resourced communities to collect, analyze, and use the data to draw conclusions related to the causes and effects of air quality.

Environmental Community Action Inc. - $475,947.00

ECO-Action, working in partnership with Emory University and other nonprofit organizations, will install air monitoring equipment, collect air samples, share sample data and train residents in five communities so they can advance their advocacy efforts to address longstanding air quality problems where they live. Project outputs include deploying 7 air quality monitors (three of which will be furnished using EPA funds) in underserved communities to collect data over a one-year period; making near real-time air quality data available for the communities and other stakeholders; providing 8-10 training sessions to a minimum of 75 people and working with each of 5 communities to develop specific strategies to reduce the effects of air pollutants on their health. The long-term outcome of this project is to reduce human exposure to the identified pollutants. The shorter-term objectives are to provide additional data that helps community members identify the type and extent of the problems they are confronting, increase community awareness of the risks associated with air pollutants in their communities, and to increase access to information and tools that will help community members decrease the impacts of these pollutants on the environment and on their health. 

The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.

These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.  By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.

EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.

See the full list of applications selected for award

Background

In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants.  In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. . These investments will improve EPA's ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information. 

In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments.  EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.

Biden-Harris Administration announces $1,284,587 for three community air pollution monitoring projects in Utah

EPA Air - Thu, 11/03/2022 - 19:00

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected three Utah groups to receive funding to conduct air quality monitoring in communities across Davis and Salt Lake Counties. These grants are among 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states that will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

“This funding will help address air quality information gaps in and near underserved communities in the Salt Lake Valley, providing community members with more data about the air they breathe” said EPA Regional Administrator, KC Becker. “The data these projects produce will help Utah communities more closely evaluate potential pollution concerns and opportunities to address them.” 

Today’s announcement includes funding for the following air monitoring projects in Utah:

  • Utah Department of Environmental Quality ($285,379) – Deployment of 40 particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) sensors in communities of Magna, West Valley, and target neighborhoods in northwest Salt Lake City, which are disproportionately affected by particle pollution because of their proximity to industry, diesel traffic, and the Great Salt Lake’s exposed lakebed. Community partners will guide all aspects of the project, including sensor siting, data collection, presentation of results, and community outreach.
  • Salt Lake County ($500,000) – Expansion of the eBus Air Quality Monitoring project, which utilizes air monitors on electric buses to measure fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone, and nitrogen oxide pollutants in underserved communities across west Salt Lake County. Grant funds will be used for the installation and operation of eight mobile air monitors to supplement the current fleet of three. Data from the project will be used to inform Salt Lake County’s efforts in improving air quality through creation of a detailed pollution mapping system.
  • Utah Department of Environmental Quality ($499,208) – Enhancement of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) and volatile organic compound (VOC) monitoring in underserved communities in Davis and Salt Lake Counties along Utah’s Northern Wasatch Front through the use of mobile VOC monitoring stations. Data will be presented though a public-facing website with an interactive map that allows visualizations of the measurements and sampling routes, and information will be shared during periodic community meetings.

The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.

These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.  By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.

EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.

See the full list of applications selected for award

Background

In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants.  In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. These investments will improve EPA's ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information. 

In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments.  EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.

Biden-Harris Administration announces $452,871 for community air pollution monitoring project in Montana

EPA Air - Thu, 11/03/2022 - 19:00

HELENA, MT – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to receive funding to conduct community air quality monitoring in 183 locations across Montana. The grant is one of 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states that will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

“This funding will help address air quality information gaps in and near underserved and vulnerable communities across the state of Montana, providing community members with more data about the air they breathe” said EPA Regional Administrator, KC Becker. “The data this project produces will help Montana communities more closely evaluate potential pollution concerns and opportunities to address them.” 

Today’s announcement includes $452,871 in funding for MDEQ to expand its current air quality network for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) across the state, including in communities where air quality information is currently unavailable. As the duration and severity of wildfires increases and the number of smoke-impacted days rises, the air monitors installed because of this grant will help provide information on air quality and resulting community health impacts to Montanans across the state.

"Montana DEQ is thrilled to be chosen as an award recipient," said Montana DEQ Director Chris Dorrington. "Wildfire smoke has become increasingly prevalent in Montana and giving citizens access to accurate air quality information is critical so they can determine how to reduce exposure. This funding will help DEQ provide better air quality data to rural and underserved communities across the state.”

The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.

These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.  By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.

EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.

See the full list of applications selected for award

Background

In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants.  In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. These investments will improve EPA's ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information. 

In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments.  EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.

Biden-Harris Administration announces more than $2.9 million for seven community air pollution monitoring projects in Colorado

EPA Air - Thu, 11/03/2022 - 19:00

DENVER – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected seven Colorado groups to receive funding to conduct air quality monitoring in communities across the Denver metro area, Northern Colorado, and Southwest Colorado. These grants are among 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states that will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

“This funding will help address air quality information gaps in and near underserved communities across the Front Range and Southwest Colorado, providing community members with more data about the air they breathe” said EPA Regional Administrator, KC Becker. “The data these projects produce will help Colorado communities more closely evaluate potential pollution concerns and opportunities to address them.” 

Today’s announcement includes funding for the following air monitoring projects in Colorado:

  • San Juan Basin Public Health ($312,500) – Deployment of particulate matter (PM), ozone, and volatile organic compound (VOC) monitors in underserved neighborhoods in Archuleta, La Plata, and San Juan Counties, including development of a Community Checkout Program to make mobile PM sensors available for community use.
  • City of Fort Collins ($499,139) – VOC and air toxics monitoring at locations near oil and gas development in Larimer and western Weld Counties through use of stationary monitors and a mobile plume-tracker vehicle.
  • 350 Colorado ($498,537) – Implementation of an air quality monitoring program for VOCs, ozone, methane and particulate matter near two public schools in Greeley with nearby oil and gas operations.
  • Cultivando ($500,000) - Operation of a continuous monitoring station and deployment of a mobile air monitoring van to identify and quantify air toxics in the Commerce City, Globeville, and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods, which are communities disproportionately impacted by pollution.
  • Jefferson County ($225,954.25) - Program to create local air monitoring capacity for underserved communities in Jefferson County through a partnership between the Jefferson County Public Health Department and local groups. Air monitors for particulate matter will be installed and data will be shared through a public-facing dashboard.
  • Tri-County Health Department ($403,996) – Expansion of a community air monitoring network consisting of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) sensors that display real-time, public facing data across Adams and Arapahoe counties.
  • Black Parents United Foundation ($472,656) – Installation and operation of ozone, VOC, methane, and PM2.5 air monitors in disproportionately impacted communities in Aurora, with data transmitted in real-time to a public-facing web portal.

“The last few years have made clear the importance of addressing inequities in the public health of every community,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “This $2.9 million from the Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan will help protect our air quality in Colorado and I’m glad to see these funds coming to our state.”

"Polluted air hurts Coloradans' health and ability to enjoy the outdoors. That's why I voted to expand community and local efforts to monitor their own air quality," said Representative Jason Crow (CO-06). "This funding will help Colorado communities most impacted by bad air quality expand localized monitoring so that we can better understand how pollution impacts communities."

The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.

These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.  By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.

EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.

See the full list of applications selected for award

Background

In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants.  In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. These investments will improve EPA's ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information. 

In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments.  EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.

Biden-Harris Administration announces $406,482 for community air pollution monitoring project on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota

EPA Air - Thu, 11/03/2022 - 19:00

EAGLE BUTTE, SD  – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected The Keya Foundation to receive funding to conduct community air quality monitoring on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. The grant is one of 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states that will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

“This funding will help address air quality information gaps in and near underserved communities on the Cheyenne River Reservation, building tribal capacity and providing community members with more data about the air they breathe” said EPA Regional Administrator, KC Becker. “The data this project produces will help the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal community more closely evaluate potential pollution concerns and opportunities to address them.” 

Today’s announcement includes $406,482 in funding for The Keya Foundation, located in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River Reservation, to conduct air monitoring for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), including trace metals, and mercury vapor in and around the communities of Eagle Butte, Timber Lake, and Cherry Creek, South Dakota. Tribal members will provide direct input to monitoring location selection, and field sampling will be conducted by local Native American student interns. Data from the project will be presented to stakeholders and interested parties through community-led workshops.

The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.

These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.  By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.

EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.

See the full list of applications selected for award

Background

In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants.  In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. These investments will improve EPA's ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information. 

In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments.  EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $53 Million for 132 Community Air Pollution Monitoring Projects Across the Nation

EPA Air - Thu, 11/03/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments. More than $4 million will be awarded to communities visited by EPA Administrator Michael Regan during his first Journey to Justice tour.

“I’ve traveled across the country and visited communities who’ve suffered from unhealthy, polluted air for far too long. I pledged to change that by prioritizing underserved communities and ensuring they have the resources they need to confront longstanding pollution challenges,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The air monitoring projects we are announcing today, which include the first EPA grants funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, will ensure dozens of overburdened communities have the tools they need to better understand air quality challenges in their neighborhoods and will help protect people from the dangers posed by air pollution.”

These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts. By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.

The amount of the anticipated grant funding ranges from $57,000 to $500,000, which will enhance air monitoring in communities and establish important partnerships to address air quality concerns. More than half of the selected applications are from community and nonprofit organizations. Tribes are receiving 12 percent of the total funding for this competition. EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. The grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.

"Ensuring Americans have clean air to breathe starts with having an effective system to measure the pollutants that exist,” said Senator Tom Carper, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Fortunately, the Biden Administration is taking action to improve our nation’s outdated air quality monitoring system thanks to our historic investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan. These grants will go a long way toward enhancing air quality and improving public health, especially in low-income and historically disadvantaged communities. For too long, these communities have been overburdened by air pollution while often contributing disproportionately little to the cause. I commend Administrator Regan for his steady commitment to delivering cleaner air in communities across our nation, and I look forward to continuing the important work of advancing legislation that improves our nation’s air monitoring systems.”

“With today’s announcement, the Biden EPA is safeguarding Americans’ right to clean air by strengthening air monitoring across the country and providing communities the localized information they need to protect public health,” said Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “These projects are especially crucial for environmental justice communities, which continue to bear the brunt of air pollution and its adverse health effects. I’m thrilled the funding we included in the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act is providing these communities with the resources they both need and deserve, and I commend EPA for being a steadfast partner in our fight to ensure these communities will never again be left behind.”

The announcement today delivers on Administrator Regan’s commitment to action following his ongoing Journey to Justice tour. Following the first leg of the tour through Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas in November 2021, EPA encouraged communities to apply for the grants. Today’s selectees include eight projects in communities from the tour, totaling nearly $4 million from this grant program. These awards to communities from Journey to Justice and additional awards to underserved and overburdened communities reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to deliver environmental justice and the whole-of-government approach to addressing these issues in communities that are historically marginalized.

See the list of applications selected for award

Background

In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants. In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. These investments will improve EPA's ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information.

In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments. EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.

EPA Announces Removal Action at the Lane Plating Superfund Site in Dallas, Texas

EPA Air - Thu, 11/03/2022 - 19:00

DALLAS, TEXAS (November 3rd, 2022)- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing a removal action at the Lane Plating Works, Inc., Superfund site that includes demolishing the former electroplating facility and excavating contaminated soil. EPA’s decision to move forward with the removal action follows reports of trespassers breaking into the building at the site, potentially exposing people who enter the building to unacceptable levels of hexavalent chromium dust.

“This action highlights years’ worth of progress between EPA, resident leaders and local authorities,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “This brings us one step closer to removing all contaminated materials from the area. The Lane Plating site will continue to receive EPA’s support and attention until all issues are addressed.” 

The removal action will include demolition of the electroplating facility, excavation of contaminated soil to a depth of about five feet in the area near the facility, and disposal of contaminated soil and building material at an appropriate landfill. EPA will also conduct additional soil sampling and air monitoring to ensure hazardous dust is contained during the removal action. The agency will continue working on the long-term cleanup of the site to address other contamination found at the site.

EPA continues to work with the Lane Plating Community Advisory Group (LP CAG), community leaders, and the city of Dallas to keep the community near the Lane Plating site informed about issues related to the site. With the assistance and dedication of local stakeholders, EPA continues to prioritize community engagement for the site. EPA and the LP CAG plan to host a community meeting regarding the removal action at the Highland Hills Library on November 19 at 11:00 a.m. The meeting will cover details about work planned at the site and provide an update on the ongoing long-term cleanup at the site.

Background

Lane Plating Works, Inc. is the site of a former electroplating facility located in South Dallas that operated for more than 90 years. Due to violations, investigations and a bankruptcy filing, the facility shut down in 2015 and large volumes of liquid plating wastes were left at the site. Since the site was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2018, EPA has removed 188,000 pounds of waste material and worked with local and city officials on clean up strategies. Please see the Lane Plating Superfund website for additional information.

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our homepage.

EPA Awards California $609 Million in Historic Federal Funding to Improve Water Quality

EPA Air - Wed, 11/02/2022 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO (November 2, 2022) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding to the State of California for water infrastructure improvements under the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). California has been awarded more than $609 million in capitalization grants through the State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to supplement the state’s annual base SRF funding of $144 million.

The announcement was made at the Keyes Community Services District (Keyes CSD), a community water system that was recently awarded $10.4 million in SRF loan forgiveness funding, to improve drinking water quality and compliance at four groundwater wells serving several small, disadvantaged communities in the area.

“Just over five years ago, our community was confronting a failing drinking water system,” said Ernest Garza, General Manager of the Keyes Community Service District. “But with assistance through the State Revolving Fund, we were able to consolidate multiple smaller systems, insert a treatment system for arsenic, and afford the system’s long-term operation and maintenance. And now, again with SRF assistance through a $10 million grant, we are adding a filtration system to capture 1,2,3-Trichloropropane. The cost of all these would have been prohibitive—increasing rates beyond what our community could bear. Without these grants, we would not be able to provide safe drinking water to our customers.”

The capitalization grants mark the first significant distribution of water infrastructure investments to California following passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BIL allocates more than $50 billion toward repairing the nation’s essential water infrastructure, in turn helping communities access clean, safe and reliable drinking water, prevent flooding, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, and safeguard vital waterways.

“All communities need access to clean, reliable, safe water,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership and the resources from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are repairing aging water infrastructure, replacing lead service lines, cleaning up contaminants, and making our communities more resilient in the face of floods and climate impacts.”

“President Biden has been clear—we cannot leave any community behind as we rebuild America’s water infrastructure,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, nearly half of the additional State Revolving Funds will now be grants or fully forgivable loans, making access to these critical water resources easier for small, rural, and disadvantaged communities such as the community here in Keyes, California.”

The California State Water Resources Control Board is the administrator of the state’s Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF programs, providing communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects. 

“In just the last two years alone, California has invested $9 billion to make our communities more drought-resilient and our partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration will further accelerate our efforts,” said Yana Garcia, California Secretary for Environmental Protection. “Adding this historic federal funding provides nothing short of a transformational opportunity to upgrade our aging infrastructure so it can withstand the impacts of drought and climate change. We are grateful for the support of federal partners who share the same bold vision and sense of responsibility toward the future that has driven our state’s environmental policies for decades.”

EPA’s State Revolving Funds are part of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40% of the benefits from certain federal programs to underserved communities. Furthermore, nearly half the funding available through the SRFs, thanks to the BIL, must be grants or forgivable loans that remove barriers to investing in essential water infrastructure in underserved communities across rural America and in urban centers.

Capitalization grants will continue to be awarded, on a state-by-state basis, over the course of the next four years. As grants are awarded, the state SRF programs can begin to distribute the funds as grants and loans to communities across their state.

“Drought and climate change are exposing the limitations of our 20th century water infrastructure, which decades of exclusion and disinvestment in disadvantaged communities have only exacerbated,” said E. Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “To overcome these challenges, the State Water Board will leverage our financial resources, like the BIL funding, to increase levels of loan forgiveness so that we can help more struggling systems provide safe drinking water and adapt to our changed climate."

More information about funding is available on EPA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law webpage.

Learn more about California’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund Programs.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.

EPA Highlights $11 Million for Clean School Buses in Southeast Michigan

EPA Air - Wed, 11/02/2022 - 19:00

CHICAGO (November 2, 2022) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Ypsilanti Community Schools and Dearborn Public Schools in southeast Michigan as Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of EPA's Clean School Bus Program rebate competition. The school districts will receive up to a total of $11 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help purchase 28 zero-emission school buses for cleaner air in and around their schools.
 

In Ypsilanti, EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Director Liesl Clark joined school district leaders on a tour an electric school bus and highlighted how these vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.
 

 “Thanks to the Clean School Bus program, Ypsilanti and Dearborn are making significant progress in providing a healthier environment for their students, bus drivers, and school staff,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Upgrading to electric school buses is a major win for these communities that will reduce harmful air pollution in and around schools. EPA is proud to be able to partner with them and help move our country forward towards a cleaner, healthier future.”
 

“We know that diesel exhaust from school buses has a negative impact not only on our environment, but on the health of our children, teachers, bus drivers, and the surrounding communities,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. “With this funding from the Clean School Bus program, Dearborn and Ypsilanti will be able to take diesel buses off the roads, reducing our carbon emissions and ensuring the air our children breathe on the way to school is cleaner and free from dangerous pollutants.” 
 

“These grants are forward-focused in two crucial ways,” said Michigan EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “They protect the health of our children and generations to come in Michigan’s promising clean-energy future, and they move us toward the ambitious goals we’ve set to reduce our carbon footprint and avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis.”
 

Ypsilanti Community Schools will receive up to $3.9 million to help purchase up to 10 electric school buses.
 

“The 10 electric buses purchased with the $3.9 million will help us provide cleaner transportation to our students and benefit our community by decreasing our carbon footprint,” said Dr. Carlos Lopez, Assistant Superintendent, Ypsilanti Community Schools. “These electric buses could eliminate more than 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year which can result in a reduction in the number of children who are exposed to high levels of air pollutants. Overall, this will improve the quality of life for our residents throughout Michigan and the world.”
 

Dearborn Public Schools will receive up to $7.1 million to help purchase up to 18 electric buses.
 

“We are excited to be one of several school districts in our state to receive this funding, allowing us to purchase up to 18 electric school buses. Adding these vehicles to our fleet will provide us with the opportunity to evaluate this new technology and how it performs in the real-world environment year-round,” said Dr. Glenn Maleyko, Superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools. “The Dearborn Public Schools has a long history of educating students on the importance of being good stewards of the environment and the addition of electric school buses will reinforce the importance of that message.”
 

Last week, EPA announced the selection of 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.
 

In Michigan, EPA is awarding more than $50 million to 25 school districts to help purchase 138 clean school buses.
 

These awards are among the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.
 

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts, and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.
 

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and  overburdened by pollution.
 

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

EPA and Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan Begin New Project to Build Resilience at Coastal and Shoreline Habitats

EPA Air - Wed, 11/02/2022 - 19:00

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held its first meeting with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan to begin a technical assistance project funded by the American Rescue Plan. EPA and KBIC officials met to discuss risks to human health and the environment from contaminated waste and coastal erosion in specific areas along the Keweenaw Bay shoreline on Lake Superior.

“The traditional territory of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community includes coastal and shoreline habitats which are critical places for culturally-important species, foods, medicines and gathering,” said EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore. “EPA is helping the KBIC assess the risks posed by flooding and coastal erosion and develop conceptual design options for five green infrastructure projects to protect its shoreline areas from climate change and natural disasters.”

 “KBIC feels very fortunate to be selected to receive assistance through the EPA Equitable Resilience Technical Assistance program,” said KBIC CEO Brigitte LaPointe-Dunham.  “This assistance will provide important cultural preservation to continue our way of living on the L'Anse Indian Reservation without concern. Additionally, we are excited for the assessment to be performed and designs to be brought forward that will complete the shoreline project and ultimately mitigate the identified risks to critical infrastructure and ecosystems.”

 Portions of the KBIC’s land are contaminated with mining waste. Some areas also face significant challenges from coastal erosion which could threaten drinking water intakes and other critical infrastructure. EPA and the KBIC's Natural Resources Department will assess environmental and human health risks along the Lake Superior shoreline. Together, they will develop design options for green infrastructure projects.

Through technical assistance programs, EPA provides vital resources, including experts, to communities in need. Equitable Resilience Technical Assistance projects build resilience against effects from climate change, natural disasters, and/or industrial or hazardous materials risk. The resilience measures will build community capacity to prepare for, withstand, recover from, and maintain its identity in the face of these risks.

EPA’s Office of Community Revitalization is providing Equitable Resilience Technical Assistance to four state and tribal governments in 2022. EPA’s assistance will be informed by community-based organizations in each location to ensure that the projects are centered on the vision of those who live and work in these communities. This effort is part of EPA’s commitment to achieving environmental justice by elevating community efforts to address legacy injustices made worse by a changing climate and the COVID-19 pandemic.

 For more information on Equitable Resilience Technical Assistance, please visit EPA’s website.

EPA Awards Nearly $3M in Research Grants to Identify and Measure Economic Benefits of Improved Water Quality

EPA Air - Wed, 11/02/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced grants to four universities totaling $2,964,932 for research to refine the measurement of benefits of water quality improvements, either directly or through indicators.

“At EPA, we know that when we take action to protect and improve our water resources, communities see economic and environmental benefits in return. That’s why the Agency is supporting research to improve the scientific basis behind the measurement of these benefits,” said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The research funding announced today will help communities and environmental experts better estimate the costs and benefits of improved local water conditions, especially in underserved and overburdened communities.”

Across the United States, the beneficial impacts of healthy waterbodies can be extensive. These benefits include recreational uses such as swimming, boating, and wildlife viewing as well as increased property values and reduced drinking water treatment costs. Quantifying these benefits can help support national, state, tribal, and local water quality decision-making.

However, there are many gaps in the existing research, such as the valuation of water quality improvements in many areas, the benefits of improvements to coastal areas, and how water quality changes may impact underserved communities. To address these and other research gaps, the funded projects will evaluate economic benefits and costs, including predicting the environmental justice and other distributional consequences of surface water quality improvements nationwide. 

The following universities are receiving awards:

  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn., to identify water quality improvements and river restoration along the Mississippi River to improve the understanding of the benefits, costs, and equity considerations of investments that improve water quality.
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., to collect data and select models quantifying stressors in watersheds to estimate the economic benefits of surface water quality improvements in nationwide locations in a scientifically valid manner.
  • University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, to use a two-stage model to produce regional water quality valuation estimates for three under-studied regions.
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., to conduct research with community partners to assess how different populations value water quality improvements and aquatic resources in Midwest reservoirs.

Learn more about the funded recipients.  

Learn more about EPA research grants.

EPA Issues Final List of Contaminants for Potential Regulatory Consideration in Drinking Water, Significantly Increases PFAS Chemicals for Review

EPA Air - Wed, 11/02/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Final Fifth Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List (CCL 5), which will serve as the basis for EPA’s regulatory considerations over the next five-year cycle under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This update includes a substantial expansion of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), an important first step towards identifying additional PFAS that may require regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“Following public engagement and robust scientific review, the final contaminant candidate list is the latest milestone in our regulatory efforts to ensure safe, clean drinking water for all communities,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “As EPA takes action to protect public health and the environment from PFAS, including proposing the first nationwide drinking water standards later this year, today’s final CCL 5 looks further forward to consider additional protective steps for these forever chemicals.”

A year ago, EPA published the PFAS Strategic Roadmap, outlining an Agency-wide approach to addressing PFAS in the environment. Today’s announcement strengthens EPA’s commitment to protect public health from impacts of PFAS and support the Agency’s decision-making for potential future regulations of PFAS.

In addition to a group of PFAS, the Final CCL 5 includes 66 individually listed chemicals, two additional chemical groups (cyanotoxins and disinfection byproducts (DBPs)), and 12 microbes.

In developing the Final CCL 5, EPA requested public nominations, providing an opportunity for people to make recommendations to the Agency about specific contaminants of concern that may disproportionally affect their local community. EPA further enhanced the CCL process based on comments received on this CCL and previous CCLs, including by prioritizing data most relevant to drinking water exposure, improving considerations of sensitive populations including children, and considering the recommendations included in the Review of the EPA’s Draft Fifth Contaminant Candidate List (CCL 5) report from the Science Advisory Board. These improvements resulted in a Final CCL 5 that can better inform prioritization of contaminants for potential regulatory actions and/or research efforts.

More information on the final Fifth Contaminant Candidate List (CCL 5).

EPA, Congressmembers Announce Dallas Independent School District Clean School Bus Funding

EPA Air - Wed, 11/02/2022 - 19:00

DALLAS, TEXAS (Nov. 2, 2022) — Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and three members of the North Texas congressional delegation gathered yesterday to celebrate DISD’s funding through EPA’s Clean School Bus Program. The district will receive $7.1 million to fund the purchase of up to 25 zero-emission electric buses.

“We are thrilled Dallas ISD was selected for the first round of funding through EPA’s new Clean School Bus program and President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Regional Administrator Earthea Nance. “The new, zero-emission buses will protect school children and staff, reduce pollution and help improve air quality, all while saving the district money.”

“We are grateful to EPA for making these funds available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and to our congressional delegation for their support,” said DISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde. “I can’t wait to see these buses rolling down our streets, making the air cleaner for our students immediately, as well as for the future.”

“I am pleased to learn that Dallas ISD has been selected for participation in the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, a groundbreaking initiative that will provide $7 million in funding for 25 new electric school buses. Once fully implemented, students will ride buses that are healthier for the environment—and in turn, healthier for them,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.

“This is great news for Dallas schools and shows how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to deliver and how North Texas school districts can lead the nation in the adoption of this technology,” said Congressman Colin Allred. “I am a graduate of Dallas public schools, and I took the bus when I was growing up, so I know how important this service is for families. I was glad to join the EPA this summer in urging our schools to apply for this funding and I am proud that Dallas ISD will receive 25 clean, pollution-free electric school buses.”

"Today's funding will provide a critical investment to climate security and children's futures here in North Texas," said Rep. Veasey. "Last year, I was proud to vote for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that made this accomplishment possible by ensuring our communities have the tools to switch dirty diesel-powered buses to zero-emissions electric buses."

In May, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for its Clean School Bus Program. Given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA nearly doubled the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million. The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country.

Last week, EPA announced the selection of 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks. 

Those school districts who received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with brand new clean school buses, while freeing up needed resources for schools.

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and  overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our homepage.

City of Lakewood, Ohio, Agrees to Improve Sewer Systems to Reduce Discharges of Raw Sewage

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — The city of Lakewood, Ohio, has agreed to perform work that will significantly reduce discharges of untreated sewage from its sewer system into Lake Erie and the Rocky River. The settlement is set forth in an interim partial consent decree that was filed today in federal court in the Northern District of Ohio.

The decree requires Lakewood to complete construction of a high-rate treatment system that will treat combined sewer overflows and build two large storage basins that will hold millions of gallons of wastewater until it can be sent to the wastewater treatment plant. Under the decree, Lakewood will spend about $85 million to improve its sewer system and will pay a civil penalty of $100,000, split evenly between the United States and Ohio.

The decree would partially resolve the violations alleged in the underlying complaint filed by the United States and the State of Ohio. The complaint alleges that Lakewood discharged untreated sanitary sewage into the Rocky River or directly into Lake Erie on at least 1,933 occasions from January 2016 through the present. The complaint also alleges that on numerous occasions from January 2016 through the present, Lakewood discharged water from combined sewer outfalls that violated the effluent limitations included in its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

“Discharges of untreated sewage can damage local water bodies and sicken community members who come in contact,” said Larry Starfield, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This settlement will benefit Lakewood and other Ohio communities by preventing the discharge of millions of gallons of untreated sewage from entering the Rocky River and Lake Erie.”

“Communities must invest in adequate infrastructure to protect the integrity of our nation’s waters,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement requires meaningful investments in Lakewood’s wastewater collection and treatment system that will protect the waters surrounding the city of Lakewood.”

Under the decree, Lakewood will also conduct multiple pipe lining and repair projects within its sewer system designed to eliminate causes of sanitary sewer overflows. Lakewood will also undertake a sampling pilot study designed to identify sewage in stormwater outfalls and a one-year post-construction monitoring program, which will provide the data needed for future work in Lakewood’s sewer system.

The implementation of this decree will prevent millions of gallons of raw sewage carrying harmful pollutants, such as E. coli, from being discharged to Lake Erie and the Rocky River. These reductions in pollutants will improve water quality in Lake Erie and the Rocky River. 

This decree is an important, but partial step to address the problems in Lakewood’s sewer system. It will resolve all civil penalty claims, but will not fully resolve the injunctive relief claims alleged in the complaint. Lakewood will be required through a subsequent, enforceable agreement with the United States and the state of Ohio to implement a plan that addresses the remaining permitted and unpermitted overflows in Lakewood’s sewer system and to demonstrate compliance with the Clean Water Act.

The proposed agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval after publication in the Federal Register. The agreement is available on the Justice Department’s website: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees

EPA Announces 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award Winners; New Jersey and New York Winners Highlighted

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

NEW YORK (November 1, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing 26 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners across 14 states and the District of Columbia for achievement in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals. In EPA Region 2, our winners are Case Medical, Bloomfield, N.J., Church & Dwight Co., Inc., Ewing, N.J. and Colgate-Palmolive, New York, N.Y. The Safer Choice program helps consumers and purchasers for facilities, such as schools and office buildings, find products containing chemical ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment. This year’s awardees represent a wide variety of organizations, including small- and medium-sized businesses, women-owned companies, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations. This year’s winners have all shown a commitment to preventing pollution by reducing, eliminating, or stopping pollution at its source prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal.

“Cleaning and other products made with safer chemicals – like those certified by the Safer Choice program - help protect workers, families, communities, and the planet,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pollution Prevention Jennie Romer. “This year, we’re pleased to recognize a variety of organizations for their support of safer chemistry and sustainability, many of which have worked to advance the central priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration of addressing environmental justice and climate change.”

Applicants for this year’s awards were encouraged to show how their work promotes environmental justice, bolsters resilience to the impacts of climate change, results in cleaner air or water, or improves drinking water quality. Many of the organizations being recognized today addressed climate change, like working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, several winners offer products with concentrated formulas which reduces water consumption and plastic use. This practice also lowers greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of product that must be transported.

Additionally, many awardees increased access to products with safer chemical ingredients in communities with environmental justice concerns. For example, one nonprofit winner conducted targeted outreach in both English and Spanish to promote safer cleaning techniques and products, including Safer Choice-certified products, in food trucks. Many of these businesses are owned and operated by immigrant entrepreneurs. Another winner made its Safer Choice-certified product line more accessible to lower income shoppers by offering affordable prices and making these products available at retailers that often serve low-income communities.

In early 2023, EPA will build on this work by announcing a grant opportunity for projects that can increase supply and demand for safer, environmentally preferable products such as those certified by the Safer Choice program or identified by EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program.

Case Medical, Bloomfield, NJ

Case Medical is recognized as an outstanding Formulator-Product Manufacturer. Case Medical has been a Safer Choice partner since 2011. Case Medical displays the Safer Choice label on its product containers and packaging, marketing materials, catalogs, literature and website. Case Medical highlights Safer Choice throughout its website like on the homepage and a blog post.  Case Medical includes Safer Choice messaging in email blasts and regularly published articles. In 2021, Case Medical hosted monthly webinars encouraging the use of Safer Choice-certified products by consumers and in the healthcare industry. These webinars also educated the healthcare community on cleaning best practices, safety and sustainability. Case Medical uses the Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL) and GreenBlue’s CleanGredients when formulating new products. Case Medical’s Safer Choice-certified product offering includes concentrated formulas which reduce water consumption and plastic use. These products also lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of product that must be transported. This supports EPA’s goal of addressing climate change. Case Medical promotes environmental justice by limiting the environmental impact of their manufacturing facility, which is located in a lower-income residential neighborhood. Case Medical takes responsibility for the safety of their workers and neighbors by using technologies to reduce air and water pollution, filtering and recycling wastewater, creating greenspace adjacent to their facility and reducing energy consumption. Safer Choice commends Case Medical for their promotion of the Safer Choice label and commitment to protecting worker and community health.

Church & Dwight Co., Inc., Ewing, NJ

Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (CHD) is recognized as an outstanding Safer Choice Formulator-Product Manufacturer. CHD has been a Safer Choice partner since 2015. In 2021, CHD prominently displayed the Safer Choice label on its Safer Choice-certified laundry detergent and in its marketing materials. CHD features Safer Choice messaging on its website, as well as in its social media and national TV and print advertisements. CHD’s marketing campaign leveraged social media channels that reach about 700 million individuals. CHD also expanded its Safer Choice-certified product line in 2021 and made its Safer Choice-certified product line more accessible to lower income shoppers by offering affordable prices and making these products available at retailers that often serve low-income communities. These efforts support EPA’s goal of advancing environmental justice. CHD’s produces its product line using 100% renewable energy, contributing to EPA’s goal of addressing climate change. Safer Choice applauds CHD for its environmental stewardship and efforts to increase consumer awareness of the Safer Choice label.

Colgate-Palmolive, New York, NY

Colgate-Palmolive is recognized as an outstanding Safer Choice Formulator-Product Manufacturer. Palmolive became a Safer Choice partner in 2021. It’s Safer Choice-certified products were reformulated to use only chemicals listed on the Safer Chemical Ingredient List (SCIL). Colgate-Palmolive promotes the Safer Choice program by placing the Safer Choice label on the front panel of its products. The company also developed a “Shopper Toolkit” in 2021, designed to help communicate Safer Choice messaging both online and in stores. With a vision to make efficacy and sustainability more affordable, Colgate-Palmolive’s Safer Choice-certified products were sold at a lower price point, making them accessible to retailers in markets that serve disadvantaged communities. This supports EPA’s focus on environmental justice. Colgate-Palmolive is also committed to addressing climate change, having reduced plastic waste by 5,200 tons by reducing the size of its bottles and using 100% post-consumer recycled and recyclable plastic bottles. Safer Choice commends Colgate-Palmolive’s dedication to formulating and promoting products with safer chemical ingredients.

A list of the 2022 Partner of the Year award winners can be found below. Learn more about the 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners and summaries of their accomplishments.

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ICYMI: EPA Administrator Regan, Congressman Pat Ryan visit Ulster County, New York, Highlight Expedited Removal of Asbestos Contamination Under the Superfund Program

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

NEW YORK – In case you missed it, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan and Congressman Pat Ryan (NY-19), traveled to Ulster County, New York on Friday to see firsthand the expedited removal of asbestos contamination under EPA’s Superfund program, as well as highlight the economic benefits being delivered thanks to the public-private partnership between federal, state, and local officials.

The deterioration of the site and its existing buildings were the result of improper demolition of buildings and mishandling of material that contains asbestos. The site - which once housed the area’s largest employer, IBM - has been an economic liability for over two decades because of asbestos contamination. Piles of asbestos sat on the site for six years, hampering redevelopment and risked contaminating the community because the former owner and other responsible parties refused to accept responsibility.

“Thanks to a dynamic public-private partnership, after years of sitting idle due to contamination, the former TechCity site is being reimagined as a burgeoning economic hub,” said Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Through EPA’s Superfund Program, we are making progress quickly to turn blight into might, protect people’s health, and safeguard the environment. This is a shining example of what can happen when federal, state, and local officials and business leaders come together in common pursuit. After touring the new iPark87 site, I couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead for Ulster County. Thanks to President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will turn even more communities impacted by legacy pollution into thriving economic assets.”

EPA issued a Unilateral Order directing six responsible parties, including the two companies that owned/operated TechCity Site and Alan Ginsberg, their principal, to address the threats posed by the asbestos. The parties violated the Order, and EPA filed a superfund lien to secure its costs. Leaving the asbestos debris in its present state was a threat to the community and was unacceptable. EPA changed the dynamic and worked with our local and state partners to help transform the site for the sake of this community.

More than 7,000 tons of asbestos contaminated debris were transported for landfilling more than a month ahead of schedule, thereby ensuring that the ongoing threat of exposure to asbestos by the public has been eliminated. The associated Superfund removal action was partly funded by taxpayers, but EPA will recover 100% of those funds as well as its costs of overseeing the current work.

“As we all feel the strain of rising costs, iPark87 is an example of both the present and future of economic development in the Hudson Valley,” said Representative Pat Ryan. “After decades in disrepair and asbestos contamination, I am proud to say that this site is finally open for business, with hundreds of jobs soon to follow. I want to thank EPA Administrator Regan, our local elected officials, and National Resources CEO Joe Cotter for all their hard work on this project, which I have helped champion since my time as County Executive. Between the investment at IBM in Poughkeepsie, the groundbreaking yesterday at the Cresco facility in Ellenville, and this announcement today, we are making a statement that the Hudson Valley will be at the forefront of economic development in New York State for decades to come.”

“This is an exciting moment for the entire community, and I want to thank Congressman Ryan for his leadership in driving this project forward, as well as the EPA for their efforts which got us here today,” said Joe Cotter, President and CEO, National Resources. “Congressman Ryan brought everyone to the table after decades of mismanagement, and now we are primed to deliver thousands of good-paying jobs and an economic development hub for years to come. This is a model for public-private partnerships at old industrial sites across the country, and I look forward to working with Congressman Ryan, Acting County Executive Contreras and our other local partners as we continue to grow iPark87.”

“For far too long the former IBM site in the Town of Ulster was a symbol of the past and a constant reminder of better economic times that lay behind us,” said Acting Ulster County Executive Johanna Contreras. “Although there is still work ahead to realize a full transformation of the site, I am grateful to Mr. Cotter, Ms. Ward and the entire National Resources team for their vision and commitment, as evidenced by their achievements so far. Within months of purchasing the properties, National Resources has made good on their commitment to remove the asbestos-laden debris piles left behind by the property’s former owner. They have proposed a master plan for the campus that aligns with our Ulster 2040 economic development strategy, not only by seeking out tenants like Upriver Studios and Zinc8, who represent our priority industries, but also by incorporating housing, transportation and educational partners into their plans. Ulster County will continue to partner with National Resources in every way possible to see this exciting transformation through to its ultimate conclusion – a revitalized campus that once again serves as the heart of Ulster County’s economy.”

Administrator Regan celebrated with key local partners EPA and iPark’s on-going asbestos cleanup and job creation and discussed how the efforts to fund Superfund, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, can support more projects like this in Ulster and around the country.

For details on the cleanup and additional background, visit EPA’s TechCity Response page.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, Congressman Pat Ryan, Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia and other dignitaries at the revitalized office park site. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan at office park site revitalized under the Superfund program. BEFORE: Pile of covered asbestos containing material. AFTER: A last load of asbestos containing material is removed from the site.

EPA, MDE Lead Tour of Hagerstown Superfund Site

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 1, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), joined by U.S. Congressman David Trone, led stakeholders, contractors, responsible parties and others on a tour today of ongoing cleanup work at the Central Chemical Superfund Site, located along Mitchell Avenue in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Central Chemical is contaminated with remnants from agricultural pesticides and fertilizers that were blended at a plant located at the site from the 1930s until 1965.  All operations at the plant stopped in 1984, and the buildings were eventually demolished, but contaminants remained in the groundwater. EPA added it to the Superfund National Priorities List in September 1997.

“Central Chemical is a great example of the private sector stepping up and taking responsibility for cleaning up a contaminated site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz.  “MDE has been an outstanding partner with EPA, overseeing the cleanup so that this site can eventually be reused and redeveloped for the benefit of the Hagerstown community and local economy.”

“After years of work to correct decades of damage, a new future for the Hagerstown superfund site is within reach. But now is not the time to let up and I applaud the EPA for continuing to work with all parties to ensure the clean-up is successfully completed,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen. 

“It was great to tour the Central Chemical Superfund Site in Hagerstown to review their environmental cleanup efforts,” said Congressman David Trone. “In Congress, I’m proud to be an advocate for bold action on climate, including the cleanup of sites like this one. When we work together at all levels of the government, we can solve some of the biggest problems impacting our community.”

The tour included observation of the groundwater treatment plant, which is capturing contaminated groundwater around the former lagoon to reduce contamination before discharging treated water to the City’s storm sewer system. There was also a demonstration of how waste in the former lagoon is being treated using a process called in-situ Solidification/Stabilization (ISS).  ISS entails turning the lagoon waste into a solid block. Afterwards, the lagoon area will be covered with a cap to prevent water from contacting the treated waste. The ISS work is expected to be completed by the end of December 2022.

The EPA website provides more details on the history and ongoing work at the Central Chemical (Hagerstown) Superfund Site .

Colorado-based Bona US recognized as one of EPA’s 2022 Safer Choice Partners of the Year

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

DENVER — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Bona US of Englewood, Colorado, as one of 26 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners. Winners span across 14 states and the District of Columbia and are being recognized for achievement in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals. The Safer Choice program helps consumers and purchasers for facilities, such as schools and office buildings, find products containing chemical ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment.

This year’s awardees represent a wide variety of organizations, including small- and medium-sized businesses, women-owned companies, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations. This year’s winners have all shown a commitment to preventing pollution by reducing, eliminating, or stopping pollution at its source prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal.

“Cleaning and other products made with safer chemicals – like those certified by the Safer Choice program – help protect workers, families, communities, and the planet,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pollution Prevention Jennie Romer. “This year, we’re pleased to recognize a variety of organizations for their support of safer chemistry and sustainability, including organizations that have worked to make these products more affordable and accessible to all, advancing the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to equity and environmental justice.”

“The Safer Choice Program helps consumers find products that are safer for human health and the environment without sacrificing quality or performance,” said Regional Administrator KC Becker. “We are excited to recognize Bona US as an EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year for the second year in a row.”

“We are honored to receive the prestigious U.S. EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year award again this year,” said John Schierlmann, Director of Research, Development and EHS at Bona US. “As the Bona product portfolio expands, we remain committed to designing our products with the safest raw materials selected from the EPA’s Safer Choice Ingredient List. We look forward to working with the U.S. EPA Safer Choice team to develop additional avenues for safer chemistry.”

Bona US is recognized as an outstanding Safer Choice Formulator-Product Manufacturer. Bona US has been a Safer Choice partner since 2020 and Safer Choice certification is a companywide objective. Bona US added seven new Safer Choice-certified products to its product line in 2021, with 100% of its certified products proudly displaying the Safer Choice label. Bona US raised awareness about the Safer Choice program with multiple social media posts and a multilingual Safer Choice portal on their website to further educate its customers on what it means to be Safer Choice certified. In 2021, Bona US participated in a “Safer Choice Certified At-Home Cleaning” broadcast media tour, which aired more than 1,100 times on TV, radio and internet outlets, reaching more than 738.5 million viewers and listeners. Safer Choice applauds Bona US for their commitment to the Safer Choice program and for educating consumers about what it means to be Safer Choice certified.

Applicants for this year’s awards were encouraged to show how their work advances environmental justice, bolsters resilience to the impacts of climate change, results in cleaner air or water, or improves drinking water quality. Many of the organizations being recognized today are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat the climate crisis. For example, several winners offer products with concentrated formulas which reduces water consumption and plastic use. This practice also lowers greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of product that must be transported.

Additionally, many awardees increased access to products with safer chemical ingredients in underserved and overburdened communities. For example, one nonprofit winner conducted targeted outreach in both English and Spanish to promote safer cleaning techniques and products, including Safer Choice-certified products, in food trucks. Many of these businesses are owned and operated by immigrant entrepreneurs. Another winner made its Safer Choice-certified product line more accessible to lower income shoppers by offering affordable prices and making these products available at retailers that often serve low-income communities.

In early 2023, EPA will build on this work by announcing a grant opportunity for projects that can increase supply and demand for safer, environmentally preferable products such as those certified by the Safer Choice program or identified by EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program.

More information on the 2022 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners and summaries of their accomplishments are available here.

EPA Announces more than $6.3 Million in Rebates for Clean School Buses in Orangeburg, South Carolina

EPA Air - Tue, 11/01/2022 - 19:00

ORANGEBURG, SC (Nov 1, 2022) – Today at an event in Orangeburg, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Orangeburg County School District (OSCD) will receive $6,320,000 in funding for Clean School Bus Program rebates. The funds will allow the district to purchase 16 electric school buses, accelerating the transition to zero-emission vehicles, and producing cleaner air for children and communities. Seventy five percent of the District’s 12,000 children travel by bus during the school year.

EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman joined Congressman James Clyburn, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and Orangeburg officials in recognizing the award. Statewide, South Carolina will receive nearly $59 million for clean school bus rebates which will help 16 school districts in South Carolina purchase over 148 clean school buses. This funding is the third highest of any state in the country.

EPA's investment in zero-emission school buses highlights how districts will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children's health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs.

“The infrastructure bill is delivering critical resources for the communities I represent, which has always been my top priority,” said Congressman Clyburn. “This initial investment of $58 million for South Carolina, including $25.3 million for the Sixth District, will have a lasting impact on rural communities by providing students with reliable and climate-friendly transportation. South Carolina received the third greatest allocation of all the states in this round of awards, and there will be additional funding to come over the next four years of this program to assist even more communities across the state.”

“With this historic investment, schools in Orangeburg and across the southeast will be able to reduce pollution and provide our children with cleaner safer air,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “This is especially critical for children in historically disadvantaged communities who deserve healthy air.”

“We are grateful for the award and what it means for students and residents in our state,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “South Carolina can now tout having a modern state fleet, with plans to have one of the largest fleets of electric school buses in the country. We look forward to the cost savings and many ways this will benefit our state, and we take pride in knowing that the next generation of school bus mechanics, bus drivers, STEM leaders and inventors will be riding on electric school buses very soon.

“The significant investment that the EPA is making in South Carolina, but especially in Orangeburg County School District, is a gift that our students and families will benefit from for years to come," said Dr. Shawn D. Foster, OCSD Superintendent. “Some of the current buses in our fleet are nearly 15 years old, and the addition of these buses will greatly improve our student's travel to and from school in a clean, safe, and, most importantly, healthy environment,” Foster continued.

EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99% of the selected projects. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.

Those school districts that received an award can now proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. EPA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation to provide school districts with robust technical assistance to ensure effective implementation.

These awards are the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, including an ambitious grant competition. Through future funding rounds, EPA will make another $1 billion available for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023. EPA encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

About the Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money for school districts and produce cleaner air. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students' health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. Phasing out these diesel engines will ensure cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas and the communities through which the buses drive each day. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis. The program will also save school districts money as they upgrade school bus fleets, replacing older, heavily polluting buses with new clean school buses while freeing up needed school resources.

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritize low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden's Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.

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