EPA Chief in Port Arthur for clinic groundbreaking - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

EPA Chief in Port Arthur for clinic groundbreaking

Lisa Jackson (on left side of photo) at groundbreaking for community health center in Port Arthur 8/13/2012 Lisa Jackson (on left side of photo) at groundbreaking for community health center in Port Arthur 8/13/2012

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson visited Port Arthur Monday to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Gulf Coast Health Center, Inc.

The clinic is part of the EPA's work with Port Arthur as an "Environmental Justice Showcase Community," a project that aims to focus attention on the environmental and health needs of lower-income areas. It's designed to improve Port Arthur and nine other U.S. cities.

The project will be paid for through a consent agreement that Valero refinery worked out with the government.

The Carver Terrace housing complex is also being rebuilt as part of the federal government's Environmental Justice Showcase project.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held at 601 West Reverend Ransom Howard Drive in Port Arthur.

List of Showcase Communities (SOURCE: www.epa.gov)

Bridgeport, Connecticut - EPA Region 1 is building on work that has already taken place to develop community capacity and engagement, identify a broad network of partnerships, and connect with the goals of the city government. Using this past work as a foundation, the Region plans to work collaboratively with a wide-range of stakeholders to develop projects focused on improving indoor air quality, increasing community capacity for green jobs, increasing recycling rates, and reducing asthma and toxic exposure.

Staten Island, New York - EPA Region 2 is working with the North Shore of Staten Island, a former industrial community that contains abandoned, contaminated, and regulated properties along the waterfront, because the neighborhood has seen an increase in the number of kids with elevated lead levels in their blood. EPA, in consultation with key community members, state and local health agencies, is developing a community-based health strategy for the area.

Washington, D.C. - EPA Region 3 is building on its Environmental Justice work with a variety of partners, such as: the District Department of Environment; the District Department of Health; and, local recipients of Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving and Environmental Justice Small Grant awards.

Jacksonville, Florida - EPA Region 4 is working with the City of Jacksonville and numerous local stakeholders to improve environmental and public health outcomes in an area that consists of a predominantly low income and minority population. This area has a number of Superfund sites, Brownfields, vacant and abandoned lots or other properties where contamination is suspected and impacted waterways. Region 4 is working with its partners, including environmental justice community representatives, to address sites of concern and turn them into an opportunity for residents in the vicinity to collaborate with developers and revitalize their neighborhoods.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - EPA Region 5 is working to further the redevelopment of the 30th Street Industrial Corridor. The corridor, a former rail line in the north-central part of the city, is home to low income, communities of color. This project seeks to improve the human, environmental and economic health of these neighborhoods by redeveloping Brownfields along the corridor, implementing environmentally preferable stormwater management practices, and developing urban agriculture. 

Port Arthur, Texas - EPA Region 6 is developing and implementing a comprehensive, cross-media project in this diverse city. More than 50 percent of its residents are African American and Hispanic. The city has many facilities including chemical plants, refineries and a hazardous waste incinerator. This project is being developed, with the support of other government agencies, in response to community-based organizations who have called upon EPA to look at the cumulative effects of multiple environmental impacts in Port Arthur.

Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas - EPA Region 7 has identified 11 neighborhoods in the metropolitan area that have many risk factors including poor housing conditions and increased exposure to environmental hazards. EPA is conducting an assessment to identify specific sources of pollution and will work with neighborhood leaders to prioritize community concerns. Strategies to address these concerns will be developed through these partnerships.

Salt Lake City, Utah - EPA Region 8 is working with six neighborhoods in central and west Salt Lake City, as the focus of a Children's Environmental Health and Environmental Justice initiative. These neighborhoods include: Glendale, Jordan Meadows, Poplar Grove, Rose Park, State Fairpark and Westpointe. The neighborhoods were selected based on the presence of several environmental risk factors, as well as the community's support and past participation in addressing environmental issues. EPA is working closely with the community and other federal, state and local agencies to identify children's exposure to contaminants from multiple pathways and will develop and apply tools to address those issues. The State of Utah has developed a tracking system that will provide baseline health and environmental data and help the partnership achieve results.

Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, California - U.S. EPA Region 9 and the California Environmental Protection Agency's (CalEPA) Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) are working together to coordinate inspection and enforcement activities in the densely populated communities along the Interstate 710 cargo truck corridor between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and northward to East Los Angeles.

This effort will build upon the existing targeted inspection and enforcement efforts of Cal EPA's DTSC. This collaborative approach will solicit input from the communities on environmental problems and concerns and work with federal, state, and local agencies to focus inspection and compliance efforts on the most heavily affected, highest-priority areas.

Yakima, Washington - EPA Region 10 is addressing multiple environmental home health stressors in the Latino and tribal communities in the Yakima Valley. A coordinated effort between state, local, and non-profit partners is being used to address the range of exposures found in the community, with a primary focus on reducing exposure through contaminated private well drinking water. This is being accomplished by assessing homes with contaminated wells, providing ‘treatment at the tap' mitigation, and reducing pollution sources through available regulatory tools and best management practices.