WASHINGTON, D.C. (WVDN) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the National Wildlife Federation has been selected to serve as an Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center (EJ TCTACs) that will receive at least $10 million to help communities across the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region access funds from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. This includes historic investments to advance environmental justice.
EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Several organizations in the Mid-Atlantic will be joining the National Wildlife Federation in administering the program including:
• University of Maryland’s (UMD) Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health (CEEJH) and Environmental Finance Center (EFC)
• Morgan State University (Maryland)
• West Virginia State University
• Centro De Apoyo Familiar (Arlington, Va.)
• South Baltimore Community Land Trust
• Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative
• Overbrook Education Center (Philadelphia)
• Sussex Health & Environmental Network/Sentinels of Eastern Shore Health. (Delaware)
From day one of his administration, President Biden made achieving environmental justice a top priority. Through the Investing in America agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to support and strengthen communities that for too long were left out and left behind. Administrator Regan announced the technical assistance centers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour.
“We know that so many communities across the nation have the solutions to the environmental challenges they face. Unfortunately, many have lacked access or faced barriers when it comes to the crucial federal resources needed to deliver these solutions,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today we’re taking another step to break down these barriers. Establishing these Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers across the nation will ensure all communities can access benefits from the President’s historic agenda, which includes groundbreaking investments in clean air, clean water, and our clean energy future.”
“For far too long, overburdened, underserved, and rural communities have lacked the resources and technical assistance they need from the federal government to overcome barriers critical to their energy needs and create new, long-lasting economic opportunities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE now has historic levels of new funding to pull from to help revitalize disadvantaged communities across the nation and ensure they’re not left behind in our transition to a clean energy future.”
“This is a huge step in the right direction to finally provide much needed resources to marginalized communities that have faced environmental and health injustices for decades,” said Adam Ortiz, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “This partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, community-based organizations, and two HBCUs will help give voice to our most vulnerable communities and have them gain access to this historic funding for a stronger, brighter future.”
“Today’s historic announcement by the Biden-Harris Administration is a giant step forward for environmental justice,” said Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA-11). “The National Wildlife Federation will be a critical partner in helping communities across Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic that have been overlooked for far too long finally access environmental justice programs and address climate change initiatives.”
The National Wildlife Federation is among 17 Environmental Justice TCTACs the EPA announced to receive a total of more than $177 million to remove barriers and improve accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. With this critical investment, these centers will provide training and other assistance to build capacity for navigating federal grant application systems, writing strong grant proposals, and effectively managing grant funding. In addition, these centers will provide guidance on community engagement, meeting facilitation, and translation and interpretation services for limited English-speaking participants, thus removing barriers and improving accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. Each of the technical assistance centers will also create and manage communication channels to ensure all communities have direct access to resources and information.
EPA will deliver these resources in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, whose funding allows the EJ TCTACs to provide support for identifying community opportunities for clean energy transition and financing options, including public-private partnerships supporting clean energy demonstration, deployment, workforce development and outreach opportunities that advance energy justice objectives.
The formation of TCTACs is in direct response to feedback from communities and environmental justice leaders who have long called for technical assistance and capacity building support for communities and their partners as they work to access critical federal resources. The 17 centers will provide comprehensive coverage for the entire United States through a network of more than 160 partners including community-based organizations, additional academic institutions, and Environmental Finance Centers, so that more communities can access federal funding opportunities like those made available through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
In addition to the 10 regional EJ TCTACs, EPA has selection three national ED TCTACs that will provide additional assistance across the country, with particular capacity to assist Tribes, including:
• International City/County Management Association
• Institute for Sustainable Communities
• National Indian Health Board
Additional award information for each selectee will be announced in Summer 2023.
Today’s announcement builds on the $100 million announced earlier this year under the Environmental Justice Government to Government Program and the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program, with applications due on April 14, 2023. EPA has also announced $550 million through the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program, with applications due May 31, 2023.
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