Budzinski, Durbin, Duckworth Announce Nearly $1 Million to Support University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Public Health Research

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13) today announced $991,796 for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program to evaluate the environmental, behavioral, and financial benefits of electrification and energy efficiency for underserved communities.

“Research at the University of Illinois is paving the way forward in our efforts to reduce pollution and protect our communities,” said Budzinski. “I’m thrilled to see nearly a million dollars headed to my alma mater to help make progress on reducing the use of fossil fuels in freight vehicles and improving health outcomes for communities plagued with air pollution.”

“Investing in research and innovation is key to addressing the challenges and inherent inequity of the climate crisis and achieving equitable access to clean energy solutions,” said Durbin. “This initiative will not only improve the lives of residents in underserved communities, but will contribute to a more sustainable future for all. I look forward to learning about and implementing the invaluable insights that will emerge from this crucial endeavor.”

“Underserved communities and communities of color often bear the brunt of pollution and climate change, and as a Senate Environmental Justice Caucus co-founder, it is one of my top priorities to advance clean, efficient energy for all,” said Duckworth. “I’m glad that bright minds at the University of Illinois are also committed to improving public health outcomes tied to environmental stressors. It’s imperative that we all continue working toward a cleaner future for every American.”

The objectives of the University of Urbana-Champaign’s research include analyzing the sociotechnical regime in which a transition to electrified freight vehicles will occur, evaluating potential scenarios for such a transition in terms of their reduction in air emissions, and determining the health benefits of such a transition for a community that is heavily impacted by freight vehicle traffic.

The EPA’s STAR Program aims to stimulate and support scientific and engineering research that advances EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. This program funds research on the environmental and public health effects of air quality, environmental changes, water quality and quantity, hazardous waste, toxic substances, and pesticides.

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