Jacksonville, Fla., Selected as One of Nine Environmental Justice Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected the city of Jacksonville, Fla., as one of 10 communities nationwide to highlight ways to address environmental justice challenges.

As part of this effort, EPA has committed $100,000 to provide seed money for projects in Jacksonville’s Health Zone 1 over the next two years. Health Zone 1 encompasses ZIP codes 32202, 32204, 32206, 32208, 32209 and 32254.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that, under the initiative, Jacksonville will be one of the national models for EPA’s commitment to environmental justice efforts. Environmental justice refers to the disproportionate environmental burdens placed on low-income and minority communities.

Each of the selected showcase communities will use collaborative, community-based approaches to improve public health and the environment.

Over the next two years, EPA will collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, including residents, community organizations, the city of Jacksonville, Duval County, the state of Florida and other federal agencies to implement public health and environmental improvement projects. The projects may range from efforts that address water quality concerns and increase community capacity for green jobs, to activities that improve indoor air quality in schools and reduce asthma and toxics exposure. EPA signed a memorandum of understanding with Communities in Schools, an organization that strives to address children’s unmet needs, to work collaboratively throughout the pilot to address health disparities.

"We can achieve much more collectively, when we combine and leverage our resources, than as stand-alone organizations working independently," said Greg Strong, Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northeast District director.

The other nine locations selected as Environmental Justice Showcase Communities include: Bridgeport, Conn., Staten Island, N.Y., Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Wis., Port Arthur, Texas, Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan., Salt Lake City, Utah, Los Angeles Area Environmental Enforcement Collaborative, Calif., and Yakima, Wash.

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