Grants Help New England Reduce Risks

More than $380,000 is being awarded to New England programs, promoting ongoing environmental and public health initiatives. The grants are part of EPA's 2008 Healthy Communities Grant Program, according to a Nov. 25 press release.

The 14 grants, totaling $380,426, will fund projects working to reduce environmental risk, protect and improve human health, and improve the quality of life for communities across New England.

The Healthy Communities Grant Program uses resources from nine EPA programs to strategically address environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities. Funding is used to restore or revitalize the environment; provide education, outreach, and training; and organize and conduct community planning activities.

"Especially in these tough economic times, EPA is very proud to be able to help out local programs that are helping to improve peoples’ health and our environment," said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

The recipients include:

• The Connecticut Department of Public Health was awarded $35,000 for the "Building a Statewide Comprehensive, Sustaining Tools for Schools Program" project. This effort will help 90 schools in Connecticut improve indoor air quality in schools by implementing Tools for Schools, providing training for school staff, and other activities to reduce exposure to asthma triggers and create healthy indoor learning environments.

• In Maine, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians was awarded $28,000 for their "Asthma Healthy Homes Initiative." The project will develop a culturally appropriate healthy homes education and outreach program that will also include home visits for families with asthmatics to ensure that tribal families have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to improve their asthma self management and quality of life.

• In Massachusetts, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head was awarded $33,000 for the "Environment and Natural Resources Outreach Kiosk." The project will create an interactive, educational kiosk that will provide local residents and visitors to tribal lands an understanding of environment and public health issues, current projects to protect and restore natural resources, compliance assistance efforts, and information on the tribe.

• In New Hampshire, the Nashua Regional Planning Commission was awarded $34,980 for the "Nashua Regional Energy Program". The project will address climate change in the 13 communities of the region by providing education and outreach to the community, identifying greenhouse gas emission sources in municipal buildings, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

• In Rhode Island, the Childhood Lead Action Project was awarded $35,000 for the "Immigrant and Refugee Lead Prevention Project." This initiative will create a culturally and linguistically sensitive education and outreach campaign on childhood lead poisoning and prevention methods to reduce the exposure of immigrant and refugee children to lead hazards in the home.

For more information on the Healthy Communities Grant Program, visit www.epa.gov/region01/eco/uep/hcgp.html.

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