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Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Blacks in Green had been selected to serve as an Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center. As a result, Blacks in Green will receive at least $10 million to help communities access Investing in America funds.

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Blacks in Green is among 17 Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers the EPA announced to receive more than $177 million to remove barriers and improve accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. According to the press release, these centers will provide training to build capacity for navigating federal grant application systems, writing grant proposals, and managing grant funding.

In addition, these centers will guide community engagement, meeting facilitation, and translation and interpretation services for limited English-speaking participants, thus removing barriers and improving accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns.

Each technical assistance center will also create and manage communication channels to ensure all communities have direct access to resources and information.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the technical assistance centers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour.

“We know that communities have the solutions to their environmental challenges. But, unfortunately, many have lacked access or faced barriers regarding the crucial federal resources needed to deliver these solutions,” Regan said in a statement. “Establishing these centers will ensure all communities can benefit from the President’s  agenda, which includes groundbreaking investments in clean air, clean water, and our clean energy future.”

The formation of the technical assistance centers responds 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 access critical federal resources.

The 17 centers will provide comprehensive coverage through a network of over 160 partners, including community-based organizations, other academic institutions, and Environmental Finance Centers so that more communities can access federal funding opportunities.

“The goal is to flip the script of business as usual with the simple step that no movement for equity can ever thrive without Black, Brown, and Indigenous people leading in all matters essential to thriving communities,” said Naomi Davis, founder and CEO of Blacks in Green and creator of the Sustainable Square Mile system. “This award advances the new terms of engagement between frontline organizations and our White allies by honoring our leadership as experts on the ground. This richly needed new normal will create a world that works for everyone, with no one and nothing left out.”

EPA will deliver 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.

“For far too long, overburdened, underserved, and rural communities have lacked the resources and technical assistance they need from the federal government to overcome barriers critical to their energy needs and create new, long-lasting economic opportunities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

The technical assistance centers will help communities with environmental justice concerns access assets to address disinvestment, legacy pollution, and infrastructure challenges and build a clean energy economy that will lower energy costs, strengthen energy security, and meet climate goals.

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