Environment

About

about1Finding strategies to improve quality of life.

The West Jefferson County Community Advisory Council traces its origins to 1996, when the Jefferson County Health Department conducted an assessment of environmental issues in West Louisville.

A Task Force composed of neighborhood residents, industry, and community interest group representatives was appointed to identify environmental issues within the community. From three public meetings, attended by over 150 community residents, at various neighborhood locations, the Task Force identified 38 environmental issues including:

  • Health effects from toxic emissions
  • Particulate air pollution
  • Vehicle emissions
  • Health access needs
  •  Health assessment
  • Cancer concerns

They were presented to representatives of City and County governments in September 1996.

Later in 1996, in partnership with the University of Louisville, the Task Force received a $308,000 “Environmental Justice Through Pollution Prevention” (EJP2), grant from the U.S. EPA. This grant enabled the hiring of an EJ coordinator, Arnita Gadson, and the opening of an Information Center presently located in the NIA Center, 2900 W. Broadway, Louisville, Kentucky.


The WJCCTF works on the principles of research, education, information and validation to empower residents to make informed decisions on ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ISSUES. We strive to build coalitions and partnerships between community, business and public entities, to implement strategies to improve the quality of life.

 

What is Environmental Justice (EJ)?
EPA defines EJ to mean the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or incomes with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

To Participate:
The Task Force provides a forum for the community to meet and exchange ideas and concerns every third Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Nia Center, 2900 W. Broadway. Included in the attendance are representatives from local government, Metro Air Pollution Control District (APCD), Health Department, the Office of Environmental Issues as well as UofL and industry.

The Top Priority Issues & Funding:
The top priority for the Task Force has been improving Air Quality. Since July 1998 to present State SENATOR GERALD NEAL shepherded appropriations in excess of $1,000,000 through the Kentucky Legislature’s budget on behalf of the West Louisville Air Toxics Study (WLATS). An Air Quality Lab, presently located in Ernst Hall, Speed School, UofL, was established. John Metaxes, chemist continually monitors air at six sites around the county.

The sites were chosen by members of the community, industry, EPA, state , UofL and Air Pollution Control District. They are: Farnsley Middle School, Chickasaw Park, Louisville Firearms Training Center, Cane Run Elementary, Camp Ground Road and Ralph Avenue, with two background sites – UofL Shelby Campus and Otter Creek Park.

ALDERWOMAN CHERI BRYANT-HAMILTON spearheaded the award of an additional $50,000 toward continued monitoring in 2002.

The WJCCTF has become the recognized leader in the community regarding environmental issues. State and local governmental officials defer to the organization as the most knowledgeable and effective force in addressing environmental concerns in the community. The Task Force has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the best environmental justice programs nationwide (NEJAC 2002), and was recognized by the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission as one of the best environmental programs in the state.

In 2001, the Task Force organized as an independent 501(c)(3) organization. Key accomplishments from 1996 to present, include:

  • Initiated an air toxic study that found 18 chemicals above healthy standards, 4 of major concern, Butadiene, Carbontetrachloride, Acrylonitrile, and chromium
  • Primary partner with the U.S. EPA for Community Based-Environmental Protection (CBEP) EJ projects
  • Monthly community meetings held for dialogue and presentations since 1997
  • Educational outreach – television, radio, community presentations, and numerous newspaper articles
  • Environmental Information Center opened in 1997 for access to environmental and health information
  • Web site containing monitoring data, containing environmental and health information
  • Risk Management and Risk Assessment Plan completed in 2003 resulting in the Mayor’s STAR program
  • Provided financial incentives and recognition to industries and community groups for pollution prevention activities
  • Member of Steering Committee of the U.S. EPA Community Access Network (CAN) representing local communities
  • Member of Steering Committee of the CRN (Community Resource Network), a local Annie E. Casey sponsored data resource project for communities
  • Membership on the Metro Housing Council
  • Member of the Mayor’s Air Quality Task Force
  • Member of the State Air Quality Task Force
  • Actively attend the Annual National Environmental Justice Advisory Council meetings
  • Received Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission Earth Day Award in 2002 for commitment and dedication to protecting the environment

The WJCCTF meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m., at the NIA Center.

 

Map

Nia Center on 2900 West Broadway st.
Louisville, KY 40211
Tel: 502-548-9402 | Email: wjcctf.lou@gmail.com

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