NLC Launches Program to Provide Environmental Justice Technical Assistance to Communities


  • Peyton Siler Jones
  • Ayesha Mehrotra
April 11, 2024 - (3 min read)

Across the United States, communities are struggling to overcome decades of disinvestment, environmental contamination, substandard infrastructure, lack of access to economic opportunity as well as inequitable access to quality education and healthcare. While these communities work to find solutions and access resources, systemic racism and social injustice create barriers to halt and reverse these detrimental trends.

To address these compounding problems, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (TCTACs) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The TCTACs will support communities, particularly those adversely and disproportionately affected by environmental and human health risks, to identify, access, and deploy existing funding opportunities to address local environmental justice concerns. The National League of Cities is a proud partner of the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) TCTAC. Learn more about how to plug into this technical assistance opportunity and receive support from NLC and the larger network below.

Environmental justice means ensuring that environmental benefits and burdens are equitably distributed across society, regardless of race, income, ability, national origin, and other social factors.

Achieving environmental justice requires actively working with impacted communities to rectify policy legacies that concentrate harm in more socially vulnerable communities and exclude those communities from decision-making processes. Environmental justice is a lens through which policymakers can approach creating more equitable communities that support everyone’s health, well-being, and access to opportunities.

TCTAC Opportunities Through NLC

ICMA and their team (including NLC, National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, and Urban Sustainability Directors Network) have been selected to facilitate TCTAC work at the national level. Together, our organizations will:

  • Provide technical support to communities on navigating the federal grant system, successfully applying for federal funding and equitably engaging local communities in subsequent projects.
  • Leverage our networks of local governments, state and tribal governments, nonprofits, public health and environmental justice advocates, and other community leaders to scale environmental justice solutions nationally.
  • Support the network of regional TCTACs with training, resources, technical assistance, and opportunities for peer learning.
  • Raise awareness of the TCTAC program by engaging key stakeholder groups through developing an online platform, resources and training workshops.
  • Accelerate the dissemination of successful tools, models, and resources for meeting environmental justice goals at a local level. Local governments, tribes and nonprofit organizations can request free technical assistance by filling out this form.

The Thriving Communities Network

ICMA and NLC’s TCTAC work is part of a robust network of national and regional TCTACs that play differing but complementary roles. The regional TCTACs are dispersed across EPA’s 10. They will provide technical assistance, training, and resources within their regions to help communities, including local governments, nonprofit organizations, and other community-serving institutions, to access the resources they need to achieve local environmental justice goals. Each regional TCTAC is tailored to meet the unique needs of its region.

Alongside ICMA’s National TCTAC, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and National Indian Health Board (NIHB) are also managing national TCTACs to support coordination between the regional TCTACs and provide direct technical assistance, training opportunities, and other resources to communities across the country.

This Thriving Communities Network will build communities’ capacity to navigate federal grant application systems, write strong grant proposals, effectively manage grant funding, and equitably engage all communities in environmental justice work.

Learn More

The resources available through the Environmental Justice TCTACs offer invaluable opportunities for municipal governments and community-based organizations to create transformative change for the communities they serve. Connect with us to learn more.

About the Authors

Peyton Siler Jones

About the Authors

Peyton Siler Jones is the Program Director of Sustainability at the National League of Cities.

Ayesha Mehrotra

Ayesha Mehrotra is the Program Manager, Health and Environmental Justice at the National League of Cities.