Federal sustainability is a priority for the Biden administration. The administration has, for example, provided unprecedented levels of funding for sustainable infrastructure projects through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The administration has incorporated environmental justice into these funding efforts, announcing the Justice40 Initiative — which calls for 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to flow to disadvantaged communities — and publishing its Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST). On January 10, the administration took another step toward advancing environmental justice when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that nearly $100 million in IRA funding will go to environmental justice projects.
The funding will be distributed through two grant programs: the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Program (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program and the Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) Program.
The EJCPS Cooperative Agreement Program will provide $30 million in funding directly to community-based nonprofit organizations for projects that “address local environmental and/or public health issues in their communities.” Examples of eligible organizations include local economic development corporations or local health care providers. Example of eligible projects include restoration, repair and paint projects at schools and daycare facilities to remove lead-based paint and the development of emergency preparedness and disaster resiliency plans for underserved communities and vulnerable populations.
The EJG2G Program will provide $70 million to state governments, local governments and tribal nations for projects undertaken alongside community-based partners “that lead to measurable environmental or public health results in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms and risks.” The projects eligible for EJG2G funding are similar to the projects that are eligible for EJCPS funding and include projects that would expand bike share programs and bike storage facilities or support the adoption of renewable energy programs in K-12 schools, for example.
Applications for both programs are due April 10, 2023.