The federal EPA is awarding a grant to only one city in Iowa this year through CARE, which stands for Community Action for a Renewed Environment.
The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health in Mason City is getting $100,000 through CARE to investigate what the most important environmental health issues are in the county.
Kathleen Fenton, from the EPA regional office in Kansas City, says the agency wants to see community involvement in pinpointing environmental concerns. “CARE will provide the specific tools necessary to better support local efforts to make environmental improvements,” she says. “The Cerro Gordo CARE project, along with the other 29 nationwide CARE projects, will partner with many others. We’ll be working diligently with communities to engage to get local citizens working on local issues.”
Naomi Bienfang, the county project coordinator, says she’ll look for interested people who want to help craft the county’s decisions on the most important environmental issues. “The CARE project is about what the normal community citizenry feels are concerns and what may come out of it, hopefully what will come out of it, if we focus on certain things and the community will pop up with something that we go ‘Wow, didn’t catch that,'” she says. “We’re going to be looking at data and seeing what’s perceived, what’s real.”
The EPA awarded a total of $2.7 million nationwide in new CARE grants.