Comments sought on Public Participation Grants

(LACEY)– Washington’s Public Participation Grant program seeks to increase public awareness and involvement in toxic cleanup projects and other environmental work. Grants for the program go to citizens and nonprofits to increase public outreach around contamination and environmental issues. The Washington Department of Ecology, which oversees the program, awarded $3.5 million in Public Participation Grants in the 2013-15 budget cycle.

Ecology is now updating the regulations that govern the program. Ecology’s proposed updates to the grant program seek to increase support for projects focused on disadvantaged communities that may be disproportionately impacted by toxic contamination and cleanup work. The proposed updates would also streamline the grant application process and standardize evaluations for grant proposals.

Ecology is seeking public comments on the proposed changes through May 22. A public meeting, including an overview of the changes and a hearing for public comment, will be held May 15 in Lacey and online via a webinar.