Statement from Trust for Public Land on the EPA Awarding Millions in Funding Environmental Justice Projects Including $1.5 Million for TPL-Related Projects in the Pacific Northwest
TPL to Transform Outdated Schoolyards in Madras, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington
Washington D.C. – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they will award nearly $128 million to 186 projects that empower underserved communities and address environmental injustices across the country, this includes $1.5 million for projects Trust for Public Land [TPL] will partner on in the Pacific Northwest. This significant step towards a cleaner, more sustainable and just future has been made possible by the EPA’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Last year’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided a historic investment and commitment to underserved and overburdened communities through this grant program.
TPL is excited to be partnering with the EPA on two important projects in Madras, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington focused on transforming outdated schoolyards into vibrant green spaces that address disparities in access to nature, reflect local cultures, create opportunities for physical activity, improve mental health, strengthen climate resiliency, and build local capacity for future community projects.
Katie Murtha, Vice President of Federal Relations at Trust for Public Land (TPL), issued the following statement:
“Access to quality outdoor spaces is a fundamental need; the outdoors are essential to our health, well-being and happiness. TPL will continue to advocate for programs that help meet that goal.
The EPA’s Environmental Justice funds, that are currently being distributed to communities in need and that have been provided by the forward-thinking Inflation Reduction Act and last year’s funding bill, are now on the chopping block. When it was proposed in July, the House Interior Appropriations bill has a more than 30% budget cut, including rescinding $9.2 billion currently available for Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Environmental Justice programs. $1.35 billion of that cut would come directly from the EPA Environmental Justice Grant Program.
As TPL stated then, these programs are a critical tool for communities in their fight to secure a safer and more equitable future amidst a changing climate. Trust for Public Land commends the EPA and the Biden Administration for their unwavering dedication to the principles of equity and their commitment to building resilient and healthy communities.”
Mitsu Iwasaki, Associate Vice President and Northwest Director at Trust for Public Land, issued the following statement:
“We are thrilled to be working with the EPA in two communities here in the Pacific Northwest. The Environmental and Climate Justice awards in Tacoma, WA and Madras, OR will allow for the reimagining of two schoolyards as innovative and culturally vibrant tools to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The award made to TPL in Madras, Oregon will enable our staff to continue our collaboration with the school district, students, teachers, and community organizations. The award will also help to support TPL’s ongoing collaboration with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Hispanic community to bring a meaningful and environmentally restorative space to the community of Madras.
Additionally, the Tacoma School District’s award will empower our joint effort, alongside Metro Parks Tacoma, the South End neighborhood Council, and school and community partners, to design, renovate, and transform a 1.6 acre asphalt schoolyard at Larchmont Elementary School into a purposeful green space that improves community health, climate resiliency, and student education outcomes.”
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.