Aug 14, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, LA (August 14, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), members of Congress, and other elected officials celebrated a $13 million grant over five years to the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ). The DSCEJ is among 16 entities selected nationally through a partnership between EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to house Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCTACs) and receive a total of $177 million in grant funding. The grants will help underserved and overburdened communities across the country access funds from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for a variety of activities to advance environmental justice (EJ).

“Almost one year ago on September 24, 2022, Administrator Regan alongside EJ and civil rights leaders in Warren County, North Carolina – the site of protests 40 years ago that launched the EJ movement – announced the establishment of the Office of Environmental Justice and Civil Rights,” said Acting EPA Region 4 Administrator Jeaneanne Gettle. “Today, in partnership with Region 6 and in direct response to feedback from communities, EJ leaders and their partners, I would like to congratulate the DSCEJ for being one of just 16 entities selected nationwide to aid communities throughout the U.S.”

“The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice has accomplished so much since its inception—including building local community capacity to address environmental justice challenges and routinely assisting communities who lack access to federal funding. Their work raises awareness about frontline communities that deserve protection from disproportionate pollution and climate change,” said Region 6 Deputy Regional Administrator Stacey Dwyer. “This grant and the creation of this hub represent a step forward in realizing a dream for Gulf Coast Region families to thrive through clean air, water and energy. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Deep South Center for their innovative work in improving the lives of residents in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast.”

“We are thrilled to receive this grant and to be selected as one of only 16 Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers in the country by the EPA and the Department of Energy,” said Dr. Beverly Wright, Executive Director of DSCEJ. “President Biden’s historic investments in environmental justice are a result of decades of advocacy by communities like ours in the Deep South and across the country. We are proud to be part of this effort, and look forward to helping break down these barriers to help our communities access the federal resources available to them so our children can grow up in an environment free from the dangers of pollution.”

“I’m fighting to ensure federal investments flow to underserved communities that will foster environmental justice in Louisiana’s Second Congressional District. I proudly voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that made this funding a reality. As one of the sixteen esteemed organizations selected nationwide to host TCTACs, DSCEJ will be critical in advancing environmental justice and sustainable development. This will be more than just a center – it will be a beacon of hope, a catalyst for change, and a hub of expertise. This investment will facilitate knowledge-sharing and collaborative initiatives that empower our community to drive sustainability forward. By addressing environmental justice challenges, we are working towards a world where all Louisianans can flourish,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (LA-02).

“Underserved communities across Florida have long borne the brunt of environmental inequities and lacked the tools needed to overcome these challenges,” said Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20). “Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, this expansive network of assistance centers will remain a fundamental resource and serve communities that are most in need of support.”

“As a strong advocate for environmental justice, I am pleased to see the EPA’s announcement of a significant $130 million grant to the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. This funding under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America Agenda will undoubtedly play a crucial role in empowering communities across Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District to access historic resources aimed at addressing environmental disparities,” said Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS-2). “This investment reaffirms our commitment to addressing environmental injustices in our communities and ensuring that all residents have equal opportunities to live in healthy environments. I commend the EPA for their efforts and look forward to collaborating with the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice to achieve a more equitable and sustainable future.”

DSCEJ will receive $13 million over five years to remove barriers and improve accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. Their goals include building organizational capacity of at least 250 Community-Based Organizations (CBO) in underserved communities in Regions 4 and 6 in areas such as research and community engagement; assist CBOs in applying for $50-100 million in grants over the five-year performance period; and scale up the reach and impact of their new Community Investment and Recovery Center to sustain capacity-building services for the long term.

EPA will deliver these resources in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, whose funding allows the EJ TCTACs to provide support for identifying community opportunities for clean energy transition and financing options, including public-private partnerships supporting clean energy demonstration, deployment, workforce development and outreach opportunities that advance energy justice objectives.

The formation of the EJ TCTACs is in direct response to feedback from communities and environmental justice leaders who have long called for technical assistance and capacity-building support for communities and their partners as they work to access critical federal resources. The 16 centers will provide comprehensive coverage for the entire United States through a network of over 160 partners, including community-based organizations, additional academic institutions, and Environmental Finance Centers so that more communities can access federal funding opportunities like those made available through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The EJ TCTAC program is part of the Federal Interagency Thriving Communities Network and delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. The new technical assistance centers will help ensure communities with environmental justice concerns can access President Biden’s historic investments in America to address generational disinvestment, legacy pollution, infrastructure challenges, and build a clean energy economy that will lower energy costs, strengthen our energy security, and meet our climate goals.
Learn more about the selectees, their partners and the EJ TCTAC program. 

Learn more about environmental justice at EPA.