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PHOENIX (Nov. 9, 2021) – As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marks November as Native American Heritage Month, the agency is announcing over $23 million in funding to 17 tribes in Arizona to invest in environmental protection programs and water infrastructure. This funding includes more than $12 million in grants and nearly $11 million in interagency agreements. 

“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 Acting Director Bridget Coyle. “EPA is proud to announce these awards, which are a crucial funding tool to ensure Tribes can sustain and grow their environmental programs and departments.”

EPA funding to tribes in Arizona will support water quality monitoring, watershed protection and restoration, tribal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, plant operator certification, and training. Tribes in Arizona will also use EPA funding to clean up open dumps, prevent and clean up releases of hazardous substances into the environment, develop programs to monitor, protect and improve air quality, and ensure public awareness of these efforts.

Examples of work being funded:

The Cocopah Indian Tribe plans on conducting two community clean-up events, developing a tribal air quality program, and providing local environmental outreach. The funds will further assist the Tribe with building environmental management capacity.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community will address the additional illegal dumping that has increased during the pandemic. The Tribe will continue to implement mitigation strategies and anticipates enforcement actions will continue to increase in direct proportion to the increasing illegal dumping.

The Havasupai Tribe will continue to use funds to collect and transport solid waste and recyclable material out of Havasu canyon by helicopter. A solid waste task force composed of multiple federal agencies and Havasupai Tribe, will meet to strategize a more sustainable solution for future waste collection and removal. The tribe will also be conducting a baseline wetlands assessment from Havasu Springs to Havasu Falls, and will create an interactive GIS map that will be used to educate the community on tribal water resources and their protection.

The Tohono O’odham Nation will complete construction of an intertie to regionalize two public water systems and address elevated arsenic levels in the source water.

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: Editor
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