On Wednesday, December 21, 2011, the Obama administration announced a mandate for power plants to reduce emissions. Over the next five years, power plants will have to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxins by about 90%.
CLICK HERE to read the full NY Times article.
Editorial. “Toward Healthier Air”. The New York Times. 21 December, 2011.
The American Society of Civil Engineers has recently reported on the condition of the United States’ community-based-drinking-water systems and public wastewater treatment facilities. Unless the systems are improved and modernized serious problems could arise in future years. The drinking-water systems are aging and rusting while the wastewater treatment facilities fail so often that 900 billion gallons of untreated sewage are discharged each year.
It is estimated by the EPA that to modernize the county’s water systems would cost $91 billion, but only $35 million is available. Not only does this pose a public health and environmental concern but also an economic problem. Thousands of jobs are directly related to the availability and quality of water such as wineries and chemical plants. Because water service infrastructure is located below ground it is easy to not notice the deterioration. But when the systems break it also causes huge damage to roadways and other public infrastructure.
A possible solution? Put public municipal infrastructure in the hands of private companies who often can borrow money for repairs at more favorable interest rates than local or state governments.
Barringer, Felicity. “Oh Danny Boy, the Pipes, the Pipes Are Failing”. The New York Times. 20 December, 2011.
The US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Justice has recently announced a grant opportunity. The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program has $1 million in funding to support grants of $25,000 each.
The awards will go to programs that support activities designed to educate, empower, and enable communities to understand environmental and public health issues and to identify ways to address these issues at the local level. The ultimate goal of the Environmental Justice Small Grant program is to create awareness about environmental justice concerns and partnerships within communities that will improve local environments in the future.
The focus of the EJSG is to continue aid to communities that support the EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s top priorities:
- Improving air quality
- Managing chemical risks
- Cleaning up hazardous-waste disposal sites
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Protecting America’s water
Eligible applicants must be:
- Incorporated non-profit organizations (such as: environmental justice networks, faith based organizations and those affiliated with religious institutions)
- Federally recognized tribal governments
- Tribal organizations
The proposals are due on 29 February, 2012.
Please visit the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program Page (CLICK HERE) for more information about the Request for Proposal and past grant awards.
Make sure to check the EPA Urban Water Small Grants website frequently for grant updates, helpful information, and to register for webinars designed to help you complete the grant proposal! There is also a newly posted list of Frequently Asked Questions related to this grant opportunity that could help you as you work through the proposal.
For more information or for help in completing your grant proposal, you can contact IMRivers at email@example.com.
Urban Waters Small Grants Proposal due January 23, 2012
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set aside between $1.8 to $3.8 million to fund projects throughout the United States that are work to restore urban waters by “improving water quality and supporting community revitalization” as part of the EPA’s Urban Waters program.
As stated by the grant proposal guidelines, the goal of the Urban Waters Small Grants program is to “fund research, studies, training, and demonstration projects that will advance the restoration of urban waters by improving water quality through activities that also support community revitalization and other local priorities such as public health, social and economic opportunities, general livability and environmental justice for residents.” Projects eligible for funding include:
- Education and training for water quality improvement or green infrastructure jobs
- Public education about ways to reduce water pollution
- Local water quality monitoring programs
- Engaging diverse stakeholders to develop local watershed plans
- Innovative projects that promote local water quality and community revitalization goals
Information about Urban Waters Small Grants including the Request for Proposal (RFP) and registration links for the webinars is available at http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/funding, and the EPA expects to award the grants in Summer 2012.
For more information on this project and for help with developing grant proposals, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hydraulic rock fracturing has gained much popularity with natural gas drilling companies over the past decade or so, because it can increase production of wells. Natural gas is abundantly found in Marcellus Shale which reaches from Virginia to mid New York state. In an effort to extract as much gas as possible, drilling companies are fracturing the shale with a large amount of water and a mixture of chemicals which they pump into the earth, a process called hydrofracking. The problem with this method, which is well documented by the EPA, is that many of the chemicals used are toxic to humans and the environment. Drilling requires upwards of 12,000 gallons of chemicals mixed with over a million gallons of water to be pumped into the ground, much of which will stay there and possibly seep into the ground water supply. Some of used chemical mixture is re-collected and sent to treatment plants, but it is documented that some of the plants are not capable of removing toxins before discharging the water into a river. This is becoming a big problem in areas such as Pennsylvania, where the number of wells has just about doubled since 2000, from 36,000 to 71,000. The New York Times produced an informative interactive map of water contamination in Pennsylvania due to hydrofracking. Many of the chemicals used in this process have significant health effects upon people who come in contact with them, which should be a big concern because of many wells (at least 116) have produced waste water containing levels of radioactive material over a hundred times the levels set by federal drinking-water standards.
Scott Jablonski, VERTICES Intern