A State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement Project Proposal submitted to the United State Environmental Protection Agency by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for the Request for Proposals for EPA-OECA-OEJ-09-01
April 10, 2009
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Ken Page, Environmental Justice Officer
1021 North Grand Avenue East
P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276
Phone: (217) 524-1284
Fax: (217) 785-8346
East Side Health District
Anna Hardy, RN, Public Health Nurse
638 N. 20th Street
East St. Louis, Illinois 62205
Phone: (618) 874-4713 x247
St. Clair County Inter-Governmental Grants Department
Christina Anderson, Housing Program Supervisor
Community Development Division
19 Public Square, Suite 200
Belleville, Illinois 62220
Phone: (618) 277-6790 x3218
Total Funding Request: $160,000.00
Our Collaborative Partners: East Side Health District, St. Clair County Inter-Governmental Grants Department/Community Development Division, City of East St. Louis, Ministerial Alliance of east St. Louis and the Illinois Department of Public Health
The mission of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) is to protect, restore, and enhance the quality of air, land and water resources to benefit current and future generations. The Illinois EPA was created in 1970 by the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, the first comprehensive environmental law in the nation and began operating on July 1, 1970. The Illinois EPA’s programs and authorities are established under the Act, other state laws and regulations, and federal laws and regulations. Under state law, the Illinois EPA is designated as the primary administrative and enforcement agency in Illinois for the major federal environmental protection programs. The Illinois EPA’s FY09 appropriations total $1.3 billion, comprising $287 million for operations, and $1 billion for financial assistance programs. The Illinois EPA has an authorized headcount of 1,035. The Agency is headquartered in Springfield, with 10 regional and field offices located throughout the State, as well as a laboratory in Springfield.
Since its creation in 1970, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has implemented and administered major state and federal environmental laws and regulations that have helped result in significant improvements in the quality of our air, land, and water and protection of public health.
Outdoor air quality has improved significantly and most recently we have met one set of federal standards for ozone and fine particulates in the Chicagoland and Metro East areas while we work on new strategies to meet even more stringent ones that are going into effect. Illinois’ coal-fired power plants are starting to install equipment to implement regulations that are among the toughest in the nation to reduce mercury emissions and will also have to comply with more stringent limits on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide than are required by federal regulations. IEPA also continues to work with Illinois stakeholders and regional and national organizations on strategies to reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
The site cleanup programs administered by Illinois EPA to remove historic contamination from old industrial and commercial sites have been among the largest and most successful in the nation. IEPA is currently refining our cleanup program to emphasize more sustainable and green practices for these remediation projects. In addition, the Agency administers programs to manage and reduce solid waste, including household and school hazardous waste collections, a new pharmaceutical disposal initiative, and a popular program to clean up open dumps are under funding strictures.
On the clean water front, the Illinois EPA has worked in recent years to address the thousands of National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits that must be administered and inspecting and monitoring thousands of drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and systems, as well as proactive programs to reduce potential sources of pollution in our lakes, streams and groundwater. The wastewater and drinking water infrastructure low-interest revolving loan program has provided more than $3 billion in financing the past 22 years.
Particularly since the passage of landmark “Right to Know” legislation in 2005, the Illinois EPA has also been working diligently on expanding outreach to citizens impacted by off-site contamination from industrial and other sources. Those responsible for the contamination now have a greater legal obligation to not only inform their neighbors of any impact but to put in place community relations plans under State oversight. The Illinois EPA has also greatly expanded the amount of interactive environmental information available through the Internet, such as information on drinking water supplies, cleanup sites and enforcement cases.
The City of East St. Louis, formerly called Illinoistown, occupies the extreme north-western corner of St. Clair County, and was organized as a township the 6th day of June, 1820.
East St. Louis is an environmental justice community where 97.7% of the population is African American with a median household income at $21,324.00. As of the 2000 Census, there were 31,542 people, 11,178 households and 7,668 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city is 1.23% White, 97.7% African American. 0.19% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, 0.55% from two or more races, and 0.73% Hispanic or Lationo of any race.
Post-war industrial abandonment led to loss of blue-collar jobs; white households moved out in large numbers and the population reduced by over half. With shrinking tax rolls, local government has abandoned many services that are commonplace in other communities. Employed residents continue move to communities that provide these basic amenities, and population loss and distress continue.
The distress is very evident. Over half the residents live below the poverty level, and unemployment is around twice the state and national average. Almost two-thirds of the children in school are eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch. Many have elevated lead levels in their blood stream that affects their ability to learn and develop. East St. Louis has a large aging housing stock. A large percentage of the housing stock has lead contamination. East St. Louis has high risk areas where children have shown elevated blood lead levels. Most of the lead exposure to children come from lead paint (dust). Children from lower income families tend to have higher blood lead levels. Many residents are victims of predatory lending practices that keep them from home ownership and deeper in poverty.
The East St. Louis Residential Lead Paint Outreach Collaborative establishes a collaborative and coordinated effort between the Illinois EPA, East Side Health District, St. Clair County Inter-Governmental Grants Department/Community Development and other partners. This outreach and training initiative will leverage the on-going programs at the local level, which will maximize use of local resources and will reduce duplication of efforts.
Examples of leveraged activities include the Illinois EPA will provide lead paint sampling assistance by using a x-ray fluorescent sampling device. The East Side Health District will accept requests from community to provide lead blood sampling for children. The St. Clair County Inter-governmental Grants Department will accept applications from community members lead abatement program.
The East St. Louis Residential Lead Paint Outreach Collaborative will focus public awareness programs addressing child lead poisoning in an Environmental Justice (EJ) community. The Illinois EPA had adopted Environmental Justice policies that are based on the principle that all citizens of Illinois should be protected from environmental pollution and has the right to a clean and healthy environment, regardless of their race or income level.
The Illinois EPA supports this principle by ensuring equity in the administration of the state’s environmental programs, with adequate opportunities for meaningful public involvement in developing, implementing, and enforcing environmental laws, regulations, and policies. To support this goal, the Illinois EPA formed an EJ Advisory Group to assist us in developing and adopting Environmental Just policies, including an EJ public participation policy, internal procedures for responding to EJ concerns and complaints, and an EJ grievance procedure. The Illinois EPA also established an Environmental Justice Officer, which serves as a liaison between citizens and communities, and Agency staff. The EJ Officer coordinates and facilitates EJ activities on behalf of the Illinois EPA, with the advice of the EJ Advisory Group and will serve as the project leader for this grant.
The East St. Louis Residential Lead Paint Outreach Collaborative will provide community outreach on residential lead paint contamination and proper handling and abatement throughout the City of East St. Louis. The cooperative agreement will address Section 8001(a) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act by conducting and promoting the coordination of research and investigations related to the health and welfare effects of exposure to residential lead contamination and Section 10(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act by using data on blood testing and research activities to develop an outreach plan and public public education program to educate the public on the causes and prevention of lead poisoning. The overall mission of the collaborative is to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. The East Side Health District currently provides lead blood screening in children and the St. Clair County Grants Department currently administers a program for residential lead abatement.
The East St. Louis Lead Paint Outreach Collaborative will host twelve community health forums each year to provide information on the hazards of lead paint and the proper procedures for abating lead paint contamination. The location of the 12 community health forums will be held at different locations and on weekends throughout East St. Louis in order to reach the residents in impacted neighborhoods as defined by environmental and lead screening data. Community residents will be able to gain knowledge regarding the hazards of lead contamination and where to go for blood lead screening. Community residents will be able will be able to gain knowledge regarding the hazards of lead contamination and how to prevent childhood lead poisoning.
The East St. Louis Lead Paint Outreach Collaborative will also provide training to community members to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective collaborative assistance in the EJ partnerships and the Lead Paint Outreach initiative. A group of ten young adults from the community will be trained in lead safe work practices. This will give them life skills that can be used for employment opportunities. Community residents will also have the ability to sign up for the residential lead abatement program offered by the St. Clair County Inter-Governmental grants.
The Illinois EPA has been very involved and active in remediating environmental hazards in the City of East St. Louis. The remediation has included used tire removals, removal of illegal dumps, remediation of contaminated industrial sites, lead screening and Brownfield redevelopment.
In 1999, the Illinois EPA, in parnership with USEPA and the Illinois Department of Public Health, formed a City-Wide Lead Contamination Task Force to investigate industrial sites in East St. Louis. Over 1,600 children in East St. Louis were discovered to have elevated blood lead levels. Twenty sites were investigated and 11 properties were identified with elevated lead levels in the soil. These 11 properties were remediated.
Since 2006, the Illinois EPA has cleaned up a total of fourteen open dump sites in East St. Louis. A total of 6,103 tons of household garbage, plastics, glass, demolition debris and tires were removed. The Illinois EPA has spent $520,668 removing used tires for East. St. Louis. In addition, the Illinois EPA has awarded approximately $300,000 in Brownfield grants for cleanups and assessments.