Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE)

A Good Idea


In its 35 year history, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made significant progress in controlling and preventing the emissions of toxic pollutants into our air, water, and land. We have cut air pollution in half, improved the quality our lakes and our streams, and restored or enhanced wetlands - benefits which were largely achieved through our regulatory programs.

While regulatory programs are the essential core of our environmental system, EPA has been developing innovative programs that will provide communities with tools to meet current and future environmental needs. One of these exciting new initiatives is EPA's Community Action for a Renewed Environment, or CARE. CARE is designed to help communities address the issue of multiple toxics in their environment.

Launched with the spirit of community involvement in mind, CARE represents a new approach at EPA - the use of community-based, locally-driven strategies for addressing exposure to toxic pollutants from all sources. With the help of EPA funding and technical assistance, CARE communities will form collaborative partnerships, develop a comprehensive understanding of all sources of risk from toxics, set priorities, and identify and implement projects to reduce risks through collaborative action at the local level. CARE is not designed to replace the regulatory programs that have provided significant benefits for more than three decades. Instead, CARE augments regulation with the use of voluntary initiatives to achieve additional reductions that are not immediately achievable through the regulatory process.

Goal / Mission

The clear goal of CARE is to foster projects that will become self-sustaining and use CARE funding as seed money. The CARE Process is designed to encourage communities to enlist the support of project partners that will enable the project to continue even without EPA resources. Rather than supporting one time projects, CARE will support community partnerships that will endure and provide environmental benefits long into the future.

Results / Accomplishments

The first set of EPA-funded CARE cooperative agreements have been selected and will be awarded this fall to 12 communities across all 10 EPA regions, for a total of nearly $2 million. There are two types of CARE cooperative agreements. The smaller, Level I cooperative agreements are approximately $85,000 each and will help communities organize and create collaborative partnerships dedicated to reducing toxics in their local environments. Level II awards are larger - approximately $300,000 - and are for communities that have already established broad-based partnerships, identified the priority toxic risks in the community, and are prepared to implement the risk reduction activities, measure results, and become self-sustaining.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
CARE Program
Mailcode 8001A
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Environment / Toxic Chemicals
Environment / Air
Environment / Land Contaminants
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Date of publication
Date of implementation
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