MONTREAL — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada and the Mexico Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources have awarded $1.2 million in grants under the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) program to support communities in addressing a wide range of environmental challenges across North America, according to a press release.

The NAPECA initiative was created in 2010 by the environment ministers of the three North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries that compose the CEC, to encourage innovative and model environmental initiatives at the community level across North America in support of trilateral environmental priorities, noted the release.

Read more on EPA here.

“Empowering communities across North America to address environmental issues is at the core of EPA’s Environmental Justice efforts,” said Jane Nishida, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs. “The NAPECA program is a unique example of how EPA works with our North American partners to support a broad base of local organizations, indigenous communities, academic institutions and environmental groups in delivering environmental programs across North America.”

Six of the 18 grant recipients are from the United States, reported the release.

According to the release, these grants include efforts to: Support wastewater treatment in indigenous communities; promote improved nutrition local communities by developing locally-grown sustainable produce; and protect water quality at beaches in the Tijuana/California border region in the U.S.

Read the full release here.