Liberty Hill Foundation of Santa Monica will award nearly $200,000 to 11 community groups that undertake grass-roots environmental health and justice work in Los Angeles.

The organizations were selected for their work in mitigating toxic threats near schools and residential neighborhoods, creating mass transit, and eliminating lead paint in low-income housing units.

“Many communities in Los Angeles face a life or death struggle,” said Jeffrey Richardson, executive director of Liberty Hill.

“The grants we announce are helping community advocates break the link between disproportionate exposure to high levels of pollution and black and Latino communities, especially low-income neighborhoods.

Research obtained by Liberty Hill concluded that people of color in Los Angeles are two to three times more likely to live near a hazardous waste facility than Anglos and from 1970 to 1990, the risk of living next to a toxic waste facility increased three-fold for people of color in Los Angeles.

“We are happy to be making this announcement as Earth Day approaches,” Richardson said. “There is no more urgent environmental issue facing the Los Angeles region today.”

The recipients of 2006 Environmental Justice Fund grants are:

Amigos de Los RÌos, the California Environmental Rights Alliance, the Coalition for Economic Survival, the Del Amo Action Committee, the Healthy Homes Collaborative, the Labor Community Strategy Center;

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Pacoima Beautiful, the People’s Community Organization for Reform and Empowerment, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, and UniÛn de Vecinos.

Information, www.liberty