Image: via EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park
The EPA's environmental justice working group was only revived this year, but the agency has been giving out awards for leaders in the area for a few years. This year's winners represent different regions and are focusing on different problems, but all unified in the struggle for environmental justice. Five awards were given to multi-stakeholder partnerships representing 35 organizations.The 2010 winners are:
- ENLACE Caño Martín Peña Project in San Juan, Puerto Rico, "for establishing and implementing a land use and comprehensive development plan that works to improve social, economic, and environmental conditions for eight communities in the Caño Martín Peña Special Planning District."
- Transportation Equity/Stops for Us Coalition in St. Paul, MN "for its efforts to form a broad-based partnership to secure the construction of three new light rail transit stations, which will provide access for the transit dependent communities of East University Avenue and connect residents to housing, jobs, education, and the many amenities located throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan region."
- San Francisco's EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park "for creating an environmental justice education center for use by the residents San Francisco's Bayview Hunters Point and other communities with environmental justice concerns."
The center is San Francisco's first completely off-grid building and the first environmental justice education center in the Bay Area.
- San Diego's Lead Poisoning Prevention Citizen's Advisory Task Force "for empowering communities to conduct lead hazard control work in environmental justice communities, and ensuring the protection of children from the threat of lead-based paint and dust in San Diego."
- The Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force "for effective implementation of the State's environmental justice legislation and its ability to incorporate environmental justice considerations into State agencies' programs."
Created in 2007 by state legislation that called for environmental justice in Oregon by ensuring all persons affected by natural resource agency decisions have a voice in those decisions.
From e-waste to lead poisoning to disposal of coal ash and beyond, minority and lower-income communities regularly bear a larger burden of environmental harm than their white and wealthier counterparts, and it's important the EPA recognizes, and supports, efforts to address this disparity.
More on environmental justice
EPA Revives Environmental Justice Working Group After Ten Year Hiatus
The Real Mother Earth: 10 Inspirational Women Fighting for a Cleaner, Kinder Planet
Report: Global Warming Disproportionately Affects African Americans, Low-Income Communities
Tomorrow's Young Environmentalists Light Up The Stage At Brower Youth Awards 2010