EPA awards university $10 million for new environmental justice center that will ‘work with communities to build a more equitable world’

The University of Arizona announced last week that the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency gave the school a $10 million grant to set up a new Environmental Justice Center “to work with communities to build a more equitable world.”

This hefty award will provide five-year funding for the new Western Environmental Science and Technology Support Center for Environmental Justice. The center will be led by Professor Paloma Beamer of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona School of Health Sciences.

University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins praised Beamer’s environmental work.

“Our public health and environmental researchers here at the University of Arizona are some of the best in the country, and we are proud to have their expertise and experience recognized with this Center for Environmental Justice grant from the EPA.” said Robbins. “Dr. Paloma Beemer has demonstrated outstanding leadership in environmental justice, and this new funding, combined with existing relationships and knowledge, will enable us to work with communities to build a more equitable world.” increase.”

university’s press release The researchers defined “environmental justice” as “the fair treatment and fair treatment of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, in formulating, implementing, and enforcing environmental laws, regulations, and policies. defined as meaningful engagement.”

While the grant will fund “EPA’s clean air, land and water commitments,” the university has been “historically marginalized by the complex interplay of physical, social, and economic factors.” “It’s not reaching a lot of communities that have been targeted.”

“The WEST EJ Center is one of 17 Environmental Justice Prosperity Communities Technical Assistance Centers selected as part of a new program launched by the EPA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. “It will help communities and overburdened communities across the nation who have access to funds for President Biden’s investment policy in the United States, including historic investments to advance justice,” the university said.

The Center’s team focuses on research and implementation of so-called environmental justice projects in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the US Pacific Islands.

Beamer and her team provide resources, support, assistance and training to the community, including applying for grants and other funding opportunities. It will also work to “increase community involvement in environmental and energy decision-making through training in advocacy, environmental science, climate change, public health, energy infrastructure, student internship programs, and more.”

Following the “hub and spoke model”, the center will be divided into several units such as the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Center, Participatory Assessment Institute, Southwest Environmental Health Science Center, and West Regional Public Health Training Center. The coalition consists of “five partners with deep local networks and knowledge of the needs of environmental and energy justice.”

Arizona State University Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell said, “The right to a safe and sustainable environment for all is unfortunately not shared equally by all. Many live with polluted air and water, unsafe housing and food insecurity.”

“This grant will help us drive solution-focused actions and resources, meeting people where we need them. It increases the possibilities,” Cantwell added.

All those involved did not respond to requests for comment. campus reform report.

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