Connecticut Group Will Receive EPA Grant to Target Environmental Health Issues in Bridgeport
With the assistance of a nearly $100,000 EPA grant, the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEJ) will undertake a community-based effort to target environmental health issues in Bridgeport.
The grant to CCEJ, for $99,962, is part of EPA’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program, an innovative initiative to help groups working within communities to identify and target the critical environmental health needs in a specific area, and to take the necessary steps to address those issues.
“With these funds, the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice will help accelerate the pace of targeting local environmental problems in Bridgeport, and begin applying ground–based, innovative solutions to help the community,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.
Elizabeth Ratliff, CCEJ Board of Directors and Bridgeport resident stated, “The members of the Fairfield County branch of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice have developed a list of over 30 environmental hazards in Bridgeport that affect the health of community residents, especially children. In order to create a healthier environment, the community needs to unite to create a group with diverse representation from all sectors in Bridgeport and this grant will enable us to do that”.
Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut, also has a substantial population of historically disadvantaged citizens. The CCEJ has identified numerous environmental issues impacting the City’s citizens, including impaired air quality due to diesel exhaust, heavy industrial sites adjacent to residential areas, high asthma rates and water quality concerns in Bridgeport Harbor.
The purpose of the grant to CCEJ is to assist the Coalition’s work with Bridgeport citizens to develop a comprehensive assessment of risks from toxics and environmental pollutants, set priorities for pollution reduction and take actions to reduce residents’ exposure to toxins.
EPA’s CARE program, originally launched in 2005, has grown from a network of 12 communities to nearly 50 projects. This year EPA has provided $4 million to fund CARE projects. The common theme of CARE projects is to help community groups build collaborative partnerships at the local level between residents, businesses, organizations and local and state governments.
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