ECOS has awarded 3 grants under its current five-year Cooperative Agreement with EPA totaling $45,000. These grants focus on Environmental Justice efforts as they relate to TRI with particular emphasis on addressing local environmental and/or public health issues in regional communities. The Literacy for Environmental Justice, World Resources Institute, and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade all received grants totaling $15,000. Each of these groups will present their findings at the 2010 National TRI Training Conference. A summary of the grants follows:
Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) is an environmental education and youth empowerment organization created to address the ecological and health concerns of Bayview Hunters Point and the surrounding communities of southeast San Francisco.
LEJ’s Youth with a Plan program promotes a community redevelopment process that supports the education, health and empowerment of youth in southeast San Francisco. By using the Toxics Release Database, Youth with a Plan will contribute to the public review process of San Francisco Public Utilities Commissions Sewer System Draft Master Plan. The goal is to increase the community’s capacity to access important information resources.
World Resources Institute (WRI) is an environmental think tank that finds practical ways to protect the earth and improve people’s lives. WRI’s Access Initiative seeks to expand access to information, public participation, and access to justice in matters affecting the environment.
Under this grant WRI will identify key barriers to accessing information from TRI for individuals and groups within the environmental justice community. WRI will develop key questions to address issues including cost, access to information infrastructure, website presentation, and political education in order to evaluate the needs of participating stakeholder groups and provide policy recommendations to ECOS.
Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) is an environmental health and justice organization working with communities that neighbor the state’s oil refineries, chemical plants and other industrial sites. LABB’s mission is to support communities’ use of grassroots action to become informed, sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution.
In 2007 the organization began a program called the Refinery Efficiency Initiative. The program works with neighbors of the state’s 17 oil refineries. Under this grant LABB will incorporate information about TRI into this program. An important part of this project is their collaboration WRI. LABB anticipates that staff members from WRI will be on hand to observe its methods as they present TRI data to community members. Their techniques and approaches to dissemination of this data will be analyzed by WRI with a goal of developing a method for how people understand and use the data.