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News Releases

News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Announces $200,000 Environmental Justice Grant to California Office of Planning & Research

Agency awards $2 million to states and tribes nationwide for communities facing environmental justice challenges that are impacted by COVID-19

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of the California Office of Planning and Research’s Strategic Growth Council to receive $200,000 for trainings to communities to address air quality and COVID-19 – the respiratory disease shown to disproportionately impact individuals exposed to higher levels of air pollution.

“EPA is working to improve the environment and public health conditions of low-income and minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVD-19 pandemic,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. This grant assistance will provide meaningful tools for those Californians in the greatest of need.”

The Strategic Growth Council will build capacity within California communities facing environmental justice challenges to address environmental issues as well as the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19. This newly funded project will empower community leaders from throughout California to drive change through a two-phase training and technical assistance program called Partners Advancing Climate Equity.

“The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is thrilled to receive a State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement grant,” said SGC Executive Director Louise Bedsworth. “We’re grateful to U.S. EPA for helping SGC convene a cohort of local leaders eager to build skills and partnerships to advance equitable climate and environmental solutions in their own frontline communities, which is even more important as these communities respond to and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

EPA has been actively supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the country to protect public health. As part of these efforts, EPA is providing $2 million nationwide in State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement (SEJCA) grant funding to states, local governments and tribes. SEJCA-funded projects benefit low income and minority communities disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic.

Funding will be provided once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied. 

Initially, $1 million was set aside for these environmental justice projects. Due to the agency’s desire to expand the program and further combat health challenges that have been exacerbated by COVID, EPA selected an additional five grantees to increase the total awards to $2 million.

Through the State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement Program, EPA is providing grants over a two-year period to advance collaborative work with communities facing environmental justice challenges. The goal is to further understand, promote and integrate approaches to provide meaningful and measurable improvements for public health and the environment.

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