EPA launching Environmental Justice Academy for Metro East residents

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 6:02 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

METRO EAST, Il. (KMOV) - The Environmental Protection Agency is launching a free 10-month academy to train Metro East residents to solve environmental issues in their communities.

The EPA is launching the Environmental Justice Academy in January 2024. The academy will be held online and in person at the Kappa House in East St. Louis through October 2024.

According to the EPA’s website, “EJ Academy participants cultivate skills to show environmental challenges and carry out environmental improvement goals in their communities. The academy encourages collaborative problem-solving with local government, small businesses, academic institutions, and industry to create a shared vision among different stakeholders so that all parts of a community have a voice in addressing local environmental concerns.”

Flooding, sewage, illegal dumping and chemical and oil spills have been issues in the Metro East over the last few years and decades, specifically in communities like Edwardsville, Cahokia Heights and East St. Louis.

“This is a one-of-a-kind partnership,” said U.S. Rep. Nikki Budzinski, D-Springfield. “I’m hoping this academy will help train some of our citizens to help with technical assistance as it relates to the grant application process so we can bring back more federal dollars.”

“We’ve worked with the EPA Region 5 team now for about two years, so this is really been a culmination into this EJ academy,” said Metro East nonprofit organizer and social activist J.D. Dixon.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a partner in the academy looking to provide technical expertise as well.

“Providing new skills and tools and access to resources, so they can use what they know add in new pieces of information and new data and resources to make the strongest argument possible for resources to remedy the problem that they’re concerned about,” said Connie Frey Spurlock, director of SIUE Successful Communities Collaborative.

The deadline to apply for the free program is November 9.