Biden-Harris Administration announces $177 million for 17 new technical assistance centers to help communities access environmental justice funding

“We know that so many communities across the nation have the solutions to the environmental challenges they face. Unfortunately, many have lacked access or faced barriers when it comes to the crucial federal resources needed to deliver these solutions. Today we’re taking another step to break down these barriers. Establishing these Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers across the nation will ensure all communities can access benefits from the President’s historic economic plan, which includes groundbreaking investments in clean air, clean water, and our clean energy future.”

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan

On April 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of 17 Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCTACs) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy that will receive $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.

Administrator Regan announced the 17 technical assistance centers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour in New York City, New York with Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and WE ACT for Environmental Justice Co-Founder & Executive Director Peggy Shepard, highlighting the President’s historic investments in environmental justice. From day one of his administration, President Biden made achieving environmental justice a top priority. Through the Investing in America agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to support and strengthen communities that for too long were left out and left behind.

Each of the technical assistance centers will receive at least $10 million to remove barriers and improve accessibility for communities with environmental justice concerns. With this critical investment, these centers 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 all communities have direct access to resources and information.

“For far too long, overburdened, underserved, and rural communities have lacked the resources and technical assistance they need from the federal government to overcome barriers critical to their energy needs and create new, long-lasting economic opportunities. Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE now has historic levels of new funding to pull from to help revitalize disadvantaged communities across the nation and ensure they’re not left behind in our transition to a clean energy future.”

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm

EPA will deliver these resources in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, 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 technical assistance centers 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.

EPA has selected the following 14 organizations to serve as Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers, along with their partners:

  • University of Connecticut
  • West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc.
  • Inter-American University of Puerto Rico-Metro Campus
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
  • Research Triangle Institute
  • Blacks in Green
  • University of Minnesota
  • New Mexico State University
  • Wichita State University
  • University of Arizona
  • San Diego State University
  • Willamette Partnership
  • University of Washington

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

Additional award information for each selectee will be announced in Summer 2023.

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 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. 

Today’s announcement builds on the $100 million announced earlier this year under the Environmental Justice Government to Government Program and the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program, with applications due on April 14, 2023. EPA has also announced $550 million through the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program, with applications due May 31, 2023.

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