By: Luke Narducci and Amanda Reeve
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued a Request For Applications (RFA) on January 10, 2023, for projects “supporting community-based nonprofit organizations (CBO’s) in their efforts to collaborate and partner with other stakeholders…to develop solutions that significantly address environmental or public health issue(s) in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms,” to which the USEPA can award Environmental Justice (EJ) Grants under its Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program.
This RFA is being issued as a result of the passage of H.R. 5376 – Inflation Reduction Act of 2022; which became Public Law on August 16, 2022. Section 60201 of H.R. 5376 amends the Clean Air Act by adding “Sec. 138. Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants,” (Section 7438 of Title 42 in the United States Code), appropriating $2.8 billion to the USEPA to award as grants for the prescribed activities; and another $200 million “to provide technical assistance to eligible entities related to grants awarded.”
Eligible activities, in accordance with 42 USC §7438(b)(2), include:
- Community-led air and other pollution monitoring, prevention, remediation, and investments in low- and zero-emission and resilient technologies and related infrastructure and workforce development that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants;
- Mitigating climate and health risks from urban heat islands, extreme heat, wood heater emissions, and wildfire events;
- Climate resiliency and adaptation;
- Reducing indoor toxics and indoor air pollution; or
- Facilitating engagement of disadvantaged communities in State and Federal advisory groups, workshops, rulemakings and other public processes.
Eligible entities, in accordance with 42 USC §7438(b)(3), are defined as follows:
- A partnership between an Indian tribe, a local government, or an institution of higher educations; and a CBO;
- A CBO; or
- A partnership of CBOs
The USEPA is expecting to award approximately 83 grants of up to $500,000 each for projects that would be required to begin on October 1, 2023.
The USEPA is hosting a webinar on January 24, 2023 (2:00-3:30 PM EST) for applicants to address any questions about the process.
Applications must be submitted by April 10, 2023.