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EPA announces $62.6 Million for Environmental Improvements on Tribal Lands in the Pacific Southwest

Oct 26, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $62.6 million in funding for tribes in Arizona, California and Nevada to support environmental programs, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure development and community education. The announcement was made at the 24th Annual Regional Tribal Conference in San Francisco.

“Tribes continue to make great strides in environmental protection and improving public health,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  “This year, EPA is supporting water infrastructure and environmental programs for Pacific Southwest tribes with over $62 million in funding.”

This year, about $37 million will fund tribal water quality and water infrastructure projects. Almost $17 million will go directly to tribes to support a wide variety of projects including monitoring, watershed protection and restoration, water and energy efficiency, wastewater reclamation, and treatment systems. The remaining $20 million will go to the Indian Health Service to support tribal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, plant operator training, and technical assistance.

The tribes will use an additional $25.3 million to continue tribal environmental programs, clean up open dumps and contaminated lands, develop programs to monitor, protect, and improve air quality, and conduct targeted community outreach and community education.

Among the results of EPA funding:

  • On the Navajo Nation, approximately $3.71 million will fund two waterline extension projects that will provide piped water to 98 Tribal homes for the first time.

  • The Yurok Tribe treated a surface drinking water source that was the cause of an E. coli outbreak in 2014.  The tribe’s Kenek Water Treatment Plant was at a high risk for running dry due to the drought.

  • The Tohono O’odham Nation Reservation will use nearly $1.5 million to connect two existing community drinking water systems and upgrade arsenic treatment. Treated drinking water from this project will serve 73 Tribal homes.

  • The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s Natural Resources Department conducted an Environmental Youth Camp to encourage youth to live off the land and learn about environmental problems and impacts, traditional resources, and cultural ways of protecting their lands. They also hired four environmental interns in STEM programs from local universities to help in the department and with the camp activities.

  • These funds are critical in building the capacity of tribes to carry out environmental work. As most tribes in the Pacific Southwest have small governments, one goal of the funding is to assist tribes in developing the ability to establish and sustain environmental protection programs and make informed decisions to protect public health and environmental quality. The funds are also used to develop environmental and public health ordinances.

The EPA's Pacific Southwest Region is home to 148 tribal nations.

For more information please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/tribal

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Contact: Soledad Calvino, 415-972-3513, [email protected]

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