IEC joins partners in launch of EPA Region 7 EJ TCTAC
on Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Today, at the John Bardo Center on the Wichita State University (WSU) Innovation Campus, EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister joined WSU officials and Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center (EJ TCTAC) partners to celebrate the opening of the Region 7 EJ TCTAC. The new center will serve communities throughout EPA Region 7, which consists of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and nine tribal nations.
WSU is one of 17 EJ TCTACs, announced in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), that will receive a combined $177 million to help underserved and overburdened communities across the country access funds from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, including historic investments to advance environmental justice. Each of the TCTACs will receive at least $10 million to remove barriers and improve accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns.
"Environmental justice is at the heart of everything we do at EPA Region 7," McCollister said. "Together with Wichita State University, we can provide the kind of technical assistance, guidance, and training necessary to navigate the federal grants process and ensure that our underserved communities get access to EPA’s historic funding opportunities."
"This grant from the EPA is a remarkable opportunity for Wichita State University to drive prosperity for rural and underserved communities who, unfortunately, carry a disproportional share of pollution and environmental hazards," said Wichita State University President Dr. Rick Muma. "We look forward to the opportunity to advance environmental justice in our region and promote healthy growth for Kansas and its Midwestern neighbors."
During the celebration, EJ TCTAC environmental justice partners discussed their existing connections to environmental justice and energy justice. Partners also provided a brief overview of the services they will provide as part of the project. These partners were selected because they have shared experiences with many of EPA Region 7’s overburdened and underserved communities and will be uniquely positioned to connect with these communities and provide technical assistance that is tailored to their needs. EJ TCTAC partners include: Heartland Environmental Justice Center, Iowa Environmental Council, Center for Rural Affairs, and Metropolitan Congregations United. Watch the event below.
EJ TCTACs will provide training and other assistance to build capacity for navigating federal grant application systems, writing strong grant proposals, and effectively managing grant funding. In addition, these centers will provide guidance on 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 of the technical assistance centers will also create and manage communication channels to ensure that all communities have direct access to resources and information.
EPA will deliver these resources in collaboration with DOE, 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 17 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.
In addition, EPA has selected three national EJ TCTACs that will provide additional assistance across the country, with particular capacity to assist tribes, including:
- International City/County Management Association
- Institute for Sustainable Communities
- National Indian Health Board
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 that 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.
- environmental justice
- federal funding
- inflation reduction act (ira)