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NY Air to Benefit from EPA Grants


Communities in New York’s Capital District and in other areas of New York will get valuable data from two air monitoring projects funded by $1 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under its efforts to invest in communities across America. EPA recently awarded the money to the University at Albany (UAlbany) for two community air quality monitoring projects that will measure and reduce exposure to air pollutants that affect public health. The funding is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s investment of $53.4 million in 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states, funded by the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act, to enhance air quality monitoring in communities that are underserved and overburdened by pollution.

To celebrate the awards, EPA joined U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and other local stakeholders at Giffen Memorial Elementary School, a future air monitoring site in Albany’s South End. UAlbany researchers displayed an example of a low-cost air monitor and led a demonstration of their mobile air monitoring van.

“Air pollution is a serious threat to the health and well-being of millions of Americans, especially those who live in communities that are disproportionately exposed to harmful emissions. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to investing in community-based solutions that help improve air quality, protect public health, and advance environmental justice,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “These air monitoring projects are examples of how we can partner with local stakeholders to support communities with data and tools they need to address their air quality challenges and achieve their environmental goals.”

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC applauds the Biden-Harris Administration, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, and Regional Administrator Lisa Garcia for their continued commitment to improving air quality, combating climate change, and prioritizing environmental justice. The $1 million announced today will complement ongoing efforts like DEC’s successful Community Air Monitoring Initiative to obtain localized data that will help assess the air quality in neighborhoods here in Albany and across the state.”

The announcement highlights EPA awards of nearly $500,000 each to two UAlbany projects. The goal of the projects, led by researchers at UAlbany, is to improve air quality and public health across underserved neighborhoods across New York State.

  • NY Capital District Communities Air Quality Measurement Network. Working closely with local partners, UAlbany researchers will use low-cost sensors to measure the air quality inside and outside five community schools, such as the Giffen Memorial School, and use a mobile lab to provide accurate measurements. The researchers will analyze the data to estimate people’s exposure to air pollution inside and outside their homes and suggest ways to make the air cleaner and healthier. The project partners are Healthy Schools Network and the City School District of Albany. The project covers five areas: Northeast Albany, South Albany, Northwest Albany, North Troy, and East Schenectady. The air monitors will measure carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, fine particles and volatile organic compounds.
  • Promoting Sustainable Air Quality at Underserved Neighborhoods in New York State. UAlbany researchers will use low-cost sensors to measure the air quality inside and outside people’s homes in underserved neighborhoods in the Capital District, Hudson Valley and Harlem. The researchers will work with community leaders to understand and improve the air quality and public health. The project covers seven areas: South End in Albany, Schenectady, Cohoes, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and Harlem in Manhattan. The air monitors will measure black carbon, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, fine particles, volatile organic compounds, and other air toxics.
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