NY Launches Grant Initiative to Improve Air Quality, Reduce Open Burning

New York state municipalities can apply for $60,000 in New York State Clean Air Grants to help manage residential organic waste that was previously burned and to build community understanding of the serious health and safety hazards of open burning, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens has announced.

“Open burning of leaves, branches and other organic materials poses serious health risks and safety hazards,”Commissioner Martens said. “Burning organic materials can release harmful pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and lead. In addition, open burning is the largest single cause of wildfires in New York. These grants will help provide localities with safe alternatives to open burning and educate the public about the hazards of burning organic waste.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided DEC with the funding for the New York State Clean Air Grants Program under the Clean Air Act (CAA) STAG appropriation to address Great Lakes Air Deposition issues.

The amount of individual awards will vary up to $5,000. A wide variety of projects are eligible for grant funding including outreach programs to educate residents about outdoor burning restrictions, the health and safety hazards of outdoor burning and safer ways to dispose of organic waste materials that were historically burned. Also eligible for grants are projects to assist in the purchase of equipment to manage organic wastes such as vacuum leaf collectors, chippers and shredders as well as specialized composting equipment such as grinders, windrow turners and bagging equipment.

Applications for the New York State Clean Air Grant Program are due to DEC by Friday, August 5, 2011. A full description of the program, eligible projects and who can apply is available at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/.

For more information on the New York State Clean Air Grant Program please contact Karl Berger at NYSDEC Division of Public Affairs and Education at (518) 402-8044 or by email to [email protected].

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