EPA opens $ 20 million grant competition for community-based air pollution monitoring



Air monitoring projects can help foster transparency and accountability to reduce pollution in underserved communities

WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $ 20 million in competitive grants under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to improve monitoring of the quality of the air in communities across the United States, especially in underserved and overworked communities that often lack access to adequate air quality information. The EPA will allocate funds to support community and local efforts to monitor air quality and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state and local governments. Community nonprofit organizations, tribes, states, and local governments can apply for grants.

“As I traveled across the country from Newark to Flint to the Deep South, community members told me how important air quality monitoring is to protect their health. Thanks to the US bailout, Congress and the President have given the EPA essential funding to help those in pain, ” said EPA administrator Michael S. Regan. “This funding will support communities who need better information about the air quality in their neighborhoods and reflects EPA’s commitment to bringing environmental justice to our most vulnerable populations.

The announcement follows Administrator Regan’s Journey to Justice tour through Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, where he met with residents and advocates to find out how their communities have been affected by pollution from the air and why better air monitoring can help residents.

As part of the ARP, Congress granted the EPA a one-time additional credit of $ 100 million to address health disparities due to pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that $ 100 million, $ 50 million was spent on Environmental Justice (EJ) initiatives that identify and address disproportionate damage to the environment or to public health in underserved communities, and $ 50 million are devoted to monitoring the air for the same problems.

Today’s announcement of the availability of $ 20 million for community surveillance is part of that $ 50 million for surveillance. This is the largest investment in community surveillance systems in the history of the EPA. The remaining $ 30 million will support state, tribal or local air agencies for enhanced monitoring of fine particles and five other air pollutants regulated by national ambient air quality standards under the Clean Air Act. ; cover administrative costs; and invest in mobile monitoring laboratories or air sensor loan programs to improve EPA’s ability to support communities in need of short-term monitoring and air quality information.

To be considered for funding under this RFA, grant applications must relate to ambient air monitoring for at least one of the following types of air pollution: core pollutants ( particulate pollution, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone or sulfur (carbon dioxide) and their precursors or hazardous air pollutants, as defined by the Clean Air Act.

Grants do not require matching funds from requesting organizations. Grants will focus on collecting information that addresses air pollution issues identified by communities and effective partnerships. This EPA grant competition to improve ambient air monitoring in communities with health disparities due to pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the Biden Justice administration’s commitment40 to chart a new and better course that puts environmental and economic justice at the center of everything we do.

Through this grant program, EPA plans to award a total of 50 to 70 grants or cooperative agreements. Approximately $ 2 million of the total amount will be awarded to Tribal Governments as part of a Tribal Government Layaway, and approximately $ 2 million will be awarded to eligible community organizations as part of a Community Organizations Layaway. . The EPA may increase or decrease the total funding or the amounts set aside depending on the quality of the applications received and the priorities of the agency.

The application period ends on February 25, 2022 and the EPA will be offering an AFR information webinar on January 11, 2022 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST.

More information is available at https://www.epa.gov/grants/enhanced-air-quality-monitoring-communities OR https://www.epa.gov/arp/enhanced-air-quality-monitoring-funding -under -arp



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