Thursday, September 7, 2017

EPA Grant for Seattle

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Port of Seattle and Just Health Action have been selected for a new Environmental Protection Agency grant that will go toward improving the health of port-adjacent communities.

The city is one of three communities in the U.S. to receive funding for the Near-port Community Capacity Building/Stakeholder Engagement Project. The pilot program will “test and refine the EPA Ports Initiative’s new capacity building and stakeholder engagement toolkits: the Ports Primer for Communities, the Community Action Roadmap, and the Environmental Justice Primer for Ports,” according to the port.

“The EPA continues to be encouraged by the port’s leadership, along with other Northwest Seaports, in focusing significant time and resources to reducing the environmental impact of its operations,” said Tim Hamlin, air quality director in EPA’s Northwest office. “An important component of this work is the Port’s commitment to developing constructive relationships with communities disproportionately affected by its operations, and we’re hopeful these investments will result in meaningful reductions in health risks for the people who live there.”

The EPA grant will fund one year of technical assistance to help the port and Seattle’s South Park and Georgetown communities work together on engagement, advocacy and communication to address needs.

“As a resident of Georgetown, it is important that we work with the Port to address the significant inequities in the Duwamish Valley, relative to the rest of Seattle,” said Andrew Schiffer, a community partner at Just Health Action. “We hope the pilot project will allow us to work together to reduce the environmental impact on all near-port communities.”