COMTO Nor Cal Recieves Caltrans Environmental Justice Planning Grant

As part of a groundbreaking environmental justice program funded by Caltrans, California’s transportation authority, two Bay Area transportation organizations will receive an environmental justice planning grant. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the Northern California chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) will be implementing the grant, which is designed to increase community collaboration between 18- to 25- year-old males, transportation governing bodies, and key decision makers. Project results will be captured in a guidebook of recommendations for integrating local concerns about safety and security into transportation decision making.

BART is the applicant and primary sponsor of this project. BART will act as the grant recipient in the contract with Caltrans, conduct general oversight, and support any required coordination of resources. The Northern California chapter of COMTO is the sub-applicant, providing on-the-ground leadership, making arrangements for all direct labor, and managing the bulk of the project’s efforts, including schedules, budget, and deliverables.

COMTO members wrote the grant application and are valuable participants in the implementation of the grant, providing project consultants, technical assistance, and access to governing and decision making boards and transportation agencies. Much of the work in support of this project involves information and data collection, outreach, surveys, and partnership coordination as well as meeting and event planning. COMTO’s large body of scholarship recipients, many of whom fit the target demographic, will be working with the chapter to implement the project.

The project will use a case study approach based on a dynamic environmental justice information processing toolkit developed by Glenn Robinson of Morgan State University, the Urban Research Institute, and its partners ( The toolkit demonstrates how a dynamic environmental justice information processing experience can effectively engage the community in transportation planning. Lee L. Davis, COMTO Chapter President, recognizing the work of Morgan State and its partners, noted, “We acknowledge the group that developed the toolkit, which will provide a strong basis for reference as we develop the guidebook.”

For More Information
Contact: Marilyn Ababio, PM

EPA Administrator Renews Commitment to Environmental Justice

Lisa P. Jackson, President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency addressed the third anual State of the Environmental Justice in America 2009 coference this past friday via video.  Administrator Jackson called on grassroots movements in the US to “help build a 21st century sustainable infracstructure.”

A video of Jacksons address is available on the Environmental Justice Blog.

View Administrator Jacksons Bio on the EPA’s website.

Environmental Justice Scorecard – See Statistics on Your Area

Find environmental justice statistics on your area from

The subject of environmental justice is important, sensitive, and hard to measure. Advocates make a strong case that poor communities and communities of color can bear more than their share of environmental burdens – but in which places, and to what extent?Scorecard profiles environmental burdens in every community in the U.S., identifying which groups experience disproportionate toxic chemical releases, cancer risks from hazardous air pollutants, or proximity to Superfund sites and polluting facilities emitting smog and particulates. Environmental justice analyses are also available in spanish.

EPA Awards $800,000 in EJ Grants in 28 States

via the Environmental Justice Blog

EPA is awarding approximately$800,000 in grants to organizations working with communities facing environmental justice challenges throughout the country. Forty grants, up to $20,000 each, are going to community-based organizations and local and tribal governments in 28 states for community projects aimed at addressing environmental and public health issues.

The projects will address a variety of issues including:

· educating youth about the harmful effects of toxicsubstances such as asbestos and lead paint in Chicago;

· educating Albuquerque, N.M. residents and businesses onways to properly dispose of hazardous waste;

· conducting residential energy efficiency workshops andtraining in Kansas City, Mo. for Spanish- speaking communities;

· identifying air pollutants from truck emissions and othersources at Port Newark in New Brunswick, N.J.;

· ensuring that citizens of Barrow, Alaska have a voice inthe decision making on local oil and gas development projects;

Financial assistance under the environmental justice small grants program is available to all non-profit organizations designated by the IRS or recognized by the state, territory, commonwealth or tribe in which it is located; city, township, county government and their entities; or federally recognized Native American tribal governments. In the 15 years since initiating the environmental justice small grants program, EPA has awarded more than $20 million in funding to assist 1,130 community-based organizations and local and tribal governments. For more information on the grants program

2009 Environmental Justice Achievement Awards


Via the EPA

The 2009 Environmental Justice Achievement Awards will recognize mutli-stakeholder partnerships for their success in addressing environmental justice issues or by adopting the goals of environmental justice to positively impact their community.

The goals of the Environmental Justice Awards Program include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. promoting positive behavior on environmental justice issues by all stakeholder groups
  2. documenting models of success for others to emulate
  3. encouraging achievement of environmental results in communities having environmental justice issues
  4. fostering collaborative problem solving by all stakeholder organizations to address significant environmental justice concerns

To be considered for the award, mutli-stakeholder partnerships will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. partnerships and collaboration
  2. innovation
  3. community, equity, and public involvement
  4. environmental justice integration
  5. leveraged resources/capacity building/sustainability
  6. demonstrated results/effectiveness

Requests for Applications

On February 12, 2009, a new announcement was released for the Environmental Justice Achievement Awards Program was released.  The 2009 National Achievements in Environmental Justice Awards (PDF) (1,800KB, 3 pages) will recognize multi-stakeholder partnerships for their success in addressing environmental justice issues. Applications must be post-marked or emailed by no later than May 13, 2009.

Multi-stakeholder partnerships refer to the arrangement in which stakeholders work together to achieve goals.  Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships bring together diverse organizations with multiple perspectives and interests to address these issues.  Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships, for the purpose of addressing environmental justice issues, consist of various partners representing viewpoints from the following types of organizations:

  • Academic Institutions
  • Business and Industry organizations
  • Community based organizations
  • Non-governmental and Environmental organizations
  • State and local government organizations
  • Tribal government and indigenous organizations

Environmental Justice Toolkit Volume 2 Released

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ejtk-vol-2Volume 2 of the Environmental Justice Toolkit (EJTK) has just been released. This document expands upon the work done in Volume 1 in reviewing transportation related environmental justice issues in Baltimore. It takes the form of a guide whose function is to provide clarity to public health, transportation and community organizer practitioners on how to identify, understand and approach environmental justice issues at all levels. Like the Community Guide, Toolkit and Technical Documentation this final report will endeavor to quickly educate the user in the nature of the issues, orienting them to the key regulatory requirements guiding EJ, a synopsis of how the requirements have been responded to, characterization of good vs. deficient responses, and general instructions on how to use and benefit from the Tool Kit.

You can view volume 2 or download it as a pdf.

BREJTP Envirnomental Justice Booklet Released

The BREJTP Envirnomental Justice Booklet has been released. This booklet provides a highly readable summary of four of the BREJTP case studies as well as an overview of Environmental Justice and the BREJTP toolkit.

You can download this booklet as a pdf or view it live on