CIRCA partners with CT DEEP to implement Climate Justice Grants Pilot Program and Environmental Justice Screening Tool

The purpose of the Climate Justice Grants project is to develop and implement a grant program to support equity and environmental justice organizations as community partners for climate planning in Connecticut. Recommendation 1 of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) Phase 1 report (2021) reads: “Develop and identify funding for a community engagement strategy to inform the 2021 GC3 planning process and implementation, including support in the form of grants for partnering with community-based, non-governmental organizations to design the community engagement process, receive training, and co-develop recommendations to ensure meaningful input and equitable approaches to mitigation and adaptation.” The Climate Equity and Justice Grant Program will serve as a pilot to design this type of program for Connecticut. The primary purpose of the pilot will be to lower barriers and facilitate the participation of community partners in the implementation of the recommendations of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change and to support “hyper-local” climate planning in their communities.

As a recommendation of the Equity and Environmental Justice workgroup of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3), CIRCA partnered with DEEP to create the purpose of the Environmental Justice Screening tool project. The project aims to identify vulnerable populations that may be disproportionately impacted by programs, policies, or projects and inform initiatives for creating healthy communities. This project aims to build a community-state partnership to spatially represent environmental and demographic indicators, using deep community engagement and existing data efforts underway across the state. The tool intends to serve the state in various ways, including communication of the disproportionate impacts placed upon communities across Connecticut, informing department and agency actions concerning enforcement, permitting, assessing populations vulnerable to climate change, and supporting policy and legislation that seeks to address the institutional inequities.