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Pingree Welcomes More Than $3.5 Million for Environmental Justice Projects in Communities Across Maine

Selections announced as part of largest investments through EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement and Environmental Justice Government-to-Government grant programs funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act

Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), ranking member of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee which oversees funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced more than $3.5 million to fund six projects across Maine that advance environmental justice as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The organizations, which EPA has selected through its Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement and Environmental Justice Government-to-Government programs, will use the funds to ensure disadvantaged communities that have historically suffered from underinvestment have access to clean air and water and climate resilience solutions in alignment with the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 Initiative.   

“Mainers from the coast to the mountains are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. As the Gulf of Maine warms and more frequent extreme weather events affect our fisheries, farmers, and businesses, federal investments are critical to not only mitigating the climate crisis but making our communities more resilient to its impacts,” said Pingree. “From strengthening working waterfronts and developing a clean energy workforce to improving environmental public health and advancing environmental justice, these significant investments made possible by the historic Inflation Reduction Act will go a long way in helping our overburdened communities and will also help Maine achieve our climate goals.” 

Thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in U.S. history—this funding is a part of the largest investment ever announced under these two longstanding EPA programs. This is the first in a series of environmental justice grant announcements the agency will announce before the end of the year. 

“No President has invested more in environmental justice than President Biden, and under his leadership we’re removing longstanding barriers and meaningfully collaborating with communities to build a healthier future for all,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Together, these community-driven projects will improve the health, equity, and resilience of communities while setting a blueprint for local solutions that can be applied across the nation.” 

“EPA strongly believes that historically disadvantaged and overburdened communities must have a place at the table as we work toward climate and environmental justice. Successful environmental justice programs are built with community collaboration, common goals, and community empowerment,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David Cash. “Across New England, these selectees are poised to catalyze lasting change and make a profound difference, bringing cleaner air and water to their communities, combatting climate change, creating green jobs, and improving environmental health. We eagerly anticipate the enduring impact the grants in Maine will have in our region, advancing our common goal of environmental justice.” 

The grants announced today deliver on President Biden’s commitment to advance equity and justice throughout the United States. The two grant programs directly advance the President’s transformational Justice40 initiative to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. 

The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving (EJCPS) Program 

EPA’s EJCPS program provides financial assistance to eligible organizations working to address local environmental or public health issues in their communities. The program builds upon President Biden’s Executive Orders 13985 and 14008, creating a designation of funds exclusively for small nonprofit organizations, which are defined as having 5 or fewer full-time employees, thus ensuring that grant resources reach organizations of lower capacity that historically struggle to receive federal funding. Eleven of the organizations selected for EJCPS this year are small nonprofit organizations, receiving over $1.6 million in total. 

EPA EJCPS grant selections in Maine:  

  • Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine has been selected to receive,$500,000 for building capacity for disadvantaged working waterfront communities to engage constructively in offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine. 
  • United Charitable has been selected to receive $500,000 for supporting the ReTreeUS project in Auburn, Maine to work with 11 partner organizations to develop 8 food forests, providing benefits such as improvement of public and environmental health, while serving communities with high rates of food insecurity. 
  • Maine People’s Resource Center in Bangor, Maine has been selected to receive, $500,000 for a community-led program to invest in the workforce development necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants through clean energy projects. 
  • Center for an Ecology-Based Economy in the Western Maine Foothills Region has been selected to receive $150,000 for increasing community resilience across municipalities, schools, and public land through education, planning and technical assistance. 

Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) 

EPA’s EJG2G provides funding at the state, local, territorial, and Tribal level to support government activities in partnership with community-based organizations that lead to measurable environmental or public health impacts in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms.  

EPA EJG2G grant selections within Maine’s boundaries:  

  • The Penobscot Indian Nation has been selected to receive $1,000,000 for installing a minimum of 150 heat pumps in Tribal housing units and private housing units occupied by Tribal citizens with the greatest need – elderly, veterans, and families with young children. 
  • Greater Portland Council of Governments has been selected to receive $886,014 for assisting communities in creating and implementing action steps to respond to climate change with a special focus on addressing energy insecurity and climate adaptation for underserved, disadvantaged, and rural populations in Cumberland and York Counties in Maine. 

Additional Background:   

As Chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in the 117th Congress, Pingree secured $100 million for EPA’s environmental justice activities. In August 2022, Pingree and Congressional Democrats passed, and President Biden signed, the Inflation Reduction Act into law, creating the largest investment in environmental and climate justice in U.S. history. EPA received $3 billion in appropriations to provide grants and technical assistance for activities advancing environmental and climate justice. 

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, EPA has launched and expanded innovative programs to provide more support than ever before to communities that unjustly bear the burdens of environmental harm and pollution. This includes the $177 million for the creation of 16 Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCTACs) to remove barriers to federal resources and help communities pursue funding opportunities like those made available through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda. EPA has also launched and will award funds through the $550 million Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program before the end of 2023. 

To learn more about environmental justice at EPA, visit: 


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