Communities facing environmental challenges may qualify for assistance

Small Towns

Rural communities in Nebraska and across the Midwest have a new resource for assistance in addressing environmental challenges: the Heartland Environmental Justice Center (HEJC), a Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center.

Community leaders are dealing with a wide variety of environmental issues—whether it’s crumbling infrastructure or unsafe drinking water—on top of their day-to-day work ensuring a safe space for their residents. In my previous work with communities, we helped connect them with resources to address the major environmental challenges in their community. I am excited to follow a similar process with the HEJC as we work together to advance environmental and energy equity in rural Nebraska and the Heartland.

The HEJC is one of 17 centers established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency throughout the country, serving Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and adjoining Indigenous nations. Through community engagement, training, technical assistance, applied research, tool development, community assessments, and more, the HEJC will help communities develop their ability to participate in environmental and energy justice decision-making, find and apply for grants, and engage with the private sector to be part of energy and infrastructure project design and development.

As part of the HEJC, the Center for Rural Affairs and partner organizations will offer training and technical assistance on topics including grant development/management, community needs assessment, civic engagement, education and outreach, climate resilience, water equity, affordability and access, food, energy justice, and more.

“We are seeking rural communities in Nebraska and throughout the HEJC region that need support in addressing environmental injustices,” said Lindsay Mouw, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “Center for Rural Affairs, the HEJC, and its partners will concentrate resources in these communities to help with whatever environmental challenge a community may be facing.”

To learn more or request assistance for your community, visit or contact, Deborah at 402.870.1133, or Lindsay at 712.578.9180.

This project has been funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement 96701501 to Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center.

Heartland Environmental Justice Center Partners: