2012-2013 ECOS/EPA Toxic Release Inventory Grants
ECOS has awarded 3 grants under its current five-year Cooperative Agreement with EPA totaling over $30,000. These grants focus on A. States and the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and B. TRI and environmental public health/risk communication. The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) of the University of Minnesota, and Huxley Spatial Institute of Western Washington University were awarded grants under the RFP. A summary of the grants follows:
Clean Air Coalition of Western New York
The Clean Air Coalition is internationally recognized for its ability to use TRI to communicate risk to environmental justice communities. The Clean Air Coalition builds power by developing grassroots leaders who organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns in Western New York. The Clean Air Coalition envisions a world where our environment promotes health and equity and where communities are actively engaged in decisions that impact their lives.
In 2012, the Coalition was chosen as one of US EPA’s pilot projects for a TRI Community Engagement project. The Coalition worked closely with staff from Region 2 and EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC to train local residents and provide feedback to EPA staff on their TRI materials for communities. In August 2012, the Coalition’s director developed training for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. The organization presented to NGOs from 8 developing countries on how to access, understand and use TRI data in their countries to improve public health. A brief overview of the organization’s educational programming and TRI can be found in this 2 minute film: http://vimeo.com/48183868#at=0
TRI, Risk and Environmental Justice
The proposed project will result in a curriculum guide to help communities grappling with industrial pollution identify sources in their communities and understand the risk they are exposed to. The guide will be piloted in Tonawanda, one of New York State’s most highly industrialized neighborhoods.
The project has two objectives. First, this project will produce a curriculum guide designed to help communities grappling with industrial pollution learn about the history of TRI, how to access data and how to interpret and understand risk from TRI data. Second, the project will train 40 community leaders in Western New York using the curriculum. The project will lead a training to educate residents from the environmental justice community about TRI and how to understand the risks in their neighborhood.
When completed, the project will result in local residents who are capable of using TRI data to understand risk and the environmental health challenges in their neighborhood and have created a replicable training that can be used to empower communities across the country.
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) of the University of Minnesota
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program is part of the School of Public Health in the Division of Environmental Health Science. Our mission is to help businesses maximize resource efficiency, prevent pollution, reduce energy use, and reduce costs for Minnesota businesses, institutions, and government organizations. This mission is achieved through on site assistance such as site visits, pollution prevention teams, student interns, training, team facilitation, as well as remote assistance such as telephone calls, website resources, and materials exchange. MnTAP staff has been providing technical assistance since 1984 through primary funding from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Define State [Minnesota] P2 Targets Using Integrated TRI Data Analysis
Develop a relational database tool to integrate TRI, state, and local data to identify businesses and regions with high potential to reduce emissions through targeted pollution prevention assistance.
The project will develop a relational database tool to identify businesses and regions with high potential to reduce emissions through targeted pollution prevention technical assistance. The tool will be developed by compiling and standardizing Minnesota businesses information from various databases including TRI, state permit and violation information, and county/regional environmental information. A relational database tool will be developed to aggregate the data by sector (geographic, chemical, industry, operation). This tool will be used to identify sectors with high potential to reduce emissions through targeted pollution prevention technical assistance.
Huxley Spatial Institute of Western Washington University
The Huxley Spatial Institute is an interdisciplinary center for spatial research in the fields of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geography, and Resilience. The institute is housed within Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment. The Huxley Spatial Institute supports faculty led projects and both undergraduate and graduate level research and instruction. Recent and current research projects include GIS analysis, Remote Sensing, GPS, Cartography, and Disaster Response mapping applications.
The TRI Performance Explorer Web Application
This project will develop an online web-map and smart phone mobile site displaying TRI risk trends generated from the latest version of the EPA’s Risk Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) model.
The project aims to enhance the public’s understanding of TRI pollution risk trends by displaying changes in a facility’s pollution over time represented by color and size fluctuations from 1996 – 2010.