Inside Stories

Trahan, EPA Officials Celebrate $1.2 Million for Anti-Pollution Program

LOWELL Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) was joined by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator David Cash today to announce $1,186,077 in federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), an independent state agency based at UMass Lowell.

The funding will support technical assistance for manufacturing facilities, retailers, and national plumbers and painters’ unions to increase the availability and use of safer products in the pipe cement, primer, and paint removal product industries.

“Whether it’s rebuilding bridges like the Rourke Bridge or stopping pollution, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making tremendous improvements in cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “TURI has been doing incredible work to keep families and communities safe from pollution and toxic chemicals, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to deliver this federal investment to maximize the impact of their efforts.”

“Achieving lasting environmental justice requires community-driven solutions boosted by federal resources,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “President Biden has secured historic levels of funding to address environmental harms in vulnerable communities under his Investing in America agenda. These dollars have supercharged our ability to empower a wide range of businesses from across the country to deploy solutions that prevent pollution while strengthening economic growth.”

“This investment from EPA underscores our commitment to fostering innovation and sustainability in industries while also being protective of public health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator David Cash. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding is not only reducing harmful pollutants but also paving the way for a safer, healthier future for workers and communities here in New England and nationwide, especially in those communities that have been overburdened by pollution or been left behind in past tech booms.”

“Our team at TURI is thankful for the EPA’s Pollution Prevention Grant, which will greatly aid us in our efforts to safeguard workers, public health, and the environment,” said Baskut Tuncak, the Director of TURI. “We are also grateful for the ongoing backing from Congresswoman Lori Trahan. This funding will help TURI create safer alternatives for workers who handle toxic products within the building and construction sector.”

“Through education and research UMass Lowell is ensuring the health and quality of life of the next generation by advancing our understanding of current toxins and hazardous waste and finding safe ways to eliminate them,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Julie Chen. “Through centers like TURI, the Rist Institute for Sustainability, and the university’s Climate Change Initiative, UMass Lowell’s curriculum and research efforts are focused on sustainability, renewable energy and climate.”

For 35 years, TURI has worked with private companies, government agencies, and local communities to protect workers and communities from pollution and exposure to toxic substances. The funding announced today from the EPA’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Grant program will support TURI’s efforts to help manufacturers, retailers, and independent workers adopt safer pipe cement, primer, and paint removal products. The goal of the project is to minimize the use of toxics in painting and plumbing products, reduce pollution from manufacturing activities, and significantly decrease health risks to workers and consumers. TURI will soon begin working with 19 manufacturing companies in communities across the country.

The bipartisan spending bill has delivered $6.7 billion in federal funding for nearly 300 projects. In Lowell alone, it has resulted in $21.4 million directly to the city to repair four bridges while another $180 million has been allocated to replace the Rourke Bridge, with construction scheduled to start next year.

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