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EPA provides over $25 million for environmental improvements on tribal lands in California

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SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 9, 2021)  As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marks November as Native American Heritage Month, the agency is announcing over $25 million in funding through grants and interagency agreements to 85 tribes in California to invest in environmental programs and water infrastructure.

“Tribes are essential partners in helping us meet our mission of protecting human health and the environment across the country,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Tribal, Intergovernmental, and Policy Division Acting Director Bridget Coyle. “EPA is proud to announce these awards, which are a crucial tool to ensure Tribes can sustain and grow their environmental programs and departments.”

EPA funding to tribes in California will support projects on water quality monitoring, watershed protection and restoration, tribal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, plant operator training and technical assistance. Tribes in California will also use EPA funding to develop programs to build capacity for shared prevention resources to prevent releases of hazardous substances into the environment, monitor, protect and improve air quality, and build public awareness of these efforts.

Examples of work being funded:

The Greenville Rancheria is planning to initiate their General Assistance Program and, to the extent approvable, will be initiating this program in coordination with recovering from the Dixie Fire.

The Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the expansion of their recycling program to include textiles. This further development of their solid waste program will increase services to the tribal community and reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill.

The Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe will use funds to coordinate and plan a community clean-up event, plan an environmental youth camp, and conduct indoor air quality workshops, among other important activities. These activities will provide public education and community engagement on environmental issues and prevent pollution from accumulating on the reservation and in tributary streams.

The Big Sandy Rancheria of Western Mono Indians will construct a community sewer system with centralized treatment to address the system deficiencies with the current septic systems and reduce risks to public health.

The Klamath Water Quality Consortium (Yurok Tribe, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Resighini Rancheria and Quartz Valley Indian Community) will use the funds to continue collaborating on water quality issues, reduction of non-point source pollutions within the watersheds, and extending water quality monitoring within the Klamath Area. The Consortium is made up of the five Tribal Water Quality Departments.

EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region encompasses more than half of all tribal lands in the United States and works on a government-to-government basis with 148 federally recognized tribes. EPA recognizes tribal governments as the primary parties for setting standards, making environmental policy decisions, and managing programs for reservations. EPA uses Interagency Agreements with the Indian Health Service to fund infrastructure projects in tribal communities.

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Author: Region 09

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