Largest investment for community air monitoring in EPA history funded by President Biden’s Climate and Economic Plans
LENEXA, KAN. (DEC. 5, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska to receive $266,064 for a community air pollution monitoring project.
This grant is among 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states that will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska will use the grant money to improve the Tribe’s capacity to fully address air quality by installing equipment to monitor meteorological conditions and air pollution at various locations throughout the Winnebago Tribal Nation. The Tribe will also use the data collected from the air monitoring equipment to update emission inventories to better understand ambient air quality issues within the boundaries of the Tribal Nation.
“Funding for this air monitoring project for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska will give the Winnebago people the data they need to monitor their local air quality and make the improvements needed to reduce air pollution in and around their communities,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Investing in communities such as the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to addressing pollution in disproportionately impacted communities across our region.”
The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by over $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially selected for funding.
These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” which directed that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.
EPA will start the process of awarding the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.
View the full list of applications selected for award.
In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particles and other common pollutants.
In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. These investments will improve EPA’s ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information.
In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities grant competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States; support community efforts to monitor their own air quality; and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments. EPA received over 200 applications in response to the competition.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.
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