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MPCA announces $4.85 million in grants for community air quality monitoring

Projects to prioritize environmental justice areas

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today announced a groundbreaking $4.85 million investment in community air quality monitoring programs aimed at protecting Minnesotans from harmful air pollution. The grants, approved during the 2023 legislative session, underscore a commitment to community-first science, where communities can address the unique circumstances and health concerns of their residents.

The Walz-Flanagan Administration is working together across agencies to make Minnesota the best state for kids and families. That’s why Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan’s 2023 One Minnesota Budget invested in community air monitoring. The MPCA will distribute this investment to nonprofit organizations that will implement the air monitoring program, prioritizing environmental justice communities.

“Many Minnesotans are overburdened by air pollution simply because of where they live, and this new air monitoring program will give communities the tools they need to address that challenge,” said MPCA Assistant Commissioner Frank Kohlasch. “By awarding these grants to nonprofit organizations, this program provides community partners the tools they need to help protect their residents from air pollution and help build stronger and healthier, communities."

This initiative represents a strategic step towards a better understanding of air quality across the seven-county metro area, with an emphasis on communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution. The MPCA is inviting between two and five grantee applicants to propose community air monitoring projects. The agency will prioritize organizations with outreach expertise, a track record of local projects, and the ability to effectively communicate technical information to the public.

Equity is the focus of this grant program. The agency will consider projects located:

In areas with high illness rates linked to air pollution.

Near facilities with recent air permit enforcement actions.

In an environmental justice area.

Community air monitoring projects serve as a valuable tool to gain insights into local air quality, allowing nonprofits to tailor their goals to specific needs and concerns within their neighborhoods. Collaboration between community nonprofits and organizations with technical expertise in air sensors is expected, with a focus on sensor deployment, data management, analysis, and visualization goals. The data collected will likely inform future monitoring efforts and emission reduction programs. All information will be shared with the MPCA.

For community nonprofits interested in applying for these grants, detailed information and the Request for Proposals (RFP) can be found on the MPCA website.

About the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is a state agency committed to ensuring that every Minnesotan has healthy air, sustainable lands, clean water, and a better climate. 

 

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