19 January 2023
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
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On January 10, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
announced the availability of $100 million for
two environmental justice (EJ) grant programs. This funding is
provided through the Inflation Reduction Act (P.L. 117-169; IRA) and builds on previous
investments from the American Rescue Plan (P.L. 117-2; ARP). Specifically, the IRA
provided $2.8 billion to the EPA through the Environmental and
Climate Justice Block Grant Program to support community-led
- Monitor and prevent pollution.
- Invest in low- and zero-emission technology.
- Bolster infrastructure and workforce development efforts that
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Mitigate climate and health risks from urban heat islands,
extreme heat and wildfire events.
- Support climate resilience and adaptation.
- Engage disadvantaged communities in state and federal advisory
groups, rulemaking and other public processes.
This funding opportunity serves as the largest EJ investment in
EPA history, bolstering the Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which calls for 40
percent of climate and clean energy-related federal investments to
flow into communities disproportionately impacted by climate
The EPA’s funding announcement details that the $100 million
investment is divvied up as follows:
- $30 million for the Environmental Justice Collaborative
Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program.
- $70 million for the Environmental Justice
Government-to-Government (EJG2G) Program.
The EJCPS Cooperative Agreement Program will directly support
nonprofit organizations as well as facilitate partnerships with
such groups. The EJCPS Cooperative Agreement Program seeks to
support eligible organizations in developing and implementing
projects that address environmental or public health issues in
local communities. Leveraging the EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative
Problem-Solving Model, the EJCPS program encourages recipients
to engage in collaborative partnerships with local businesses and
government, medical service providers, academic institutions and
other stakeholders. The EPA is poised to distribute 50 awards of
$500,000 and 30 awards of $150,000.
The EJG2G Program—formerly known as the State
Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement Program—aims to
create model state activities resulting in measurable environmental
or public health benefits for communities overburdened by the
impacts of climate change. The program calls on models to leverage
existing state agency resources to build out tools and processes
that incorporate EJ considerations into state government programs.
In total, the EPA will support approximately 70 projects of up to
$1 million each for a three-year project. The EJG2G funding is to
be allocated as follows:
- $20 million for state governments to be utilized in
collaboration with community-based organizations (CBOs).
- $20 million for local governments to be used alongside
- $20 million for federally recognized tribal nations to be
distributed with CBO partners.
- $10 million for U.S. territories and remote tribes with minimal
access to CBOs.
For both the aforementioned grant programs, the EPA will extend
special consideration to projects that are located in or benefit
rural areas; include Health Impact Assessments, or center on climate
change, disaster resiliency or emergency preparedness. By
supporting community-based organizations, each program ensures
local organizations that best understand the needs of their
communities are prioritized.
Applicants must submit proposal packages by April 10,
2023 for funding consideration. Moreover, the EPA notes
that applicants should anticipate projects to begin on
October 1, 2023. As such, the EPA will host two,
pre-application assistance webinars on January 24 for the EJCPS Program and January 26 for the EJG2G Program.
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