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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, 148 Tribes


14th Annual Tribal Conference

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14th Annual Tribal Conference

Over 500 tribal leaders and environmental managers from over 100 tribal governments in California, Arizona and Nevada will be meeting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to discuss environmental concerns and to recognize accomplishments. The U.S. EPA announced recently that a total of $40 million has been awarded to Tribes in the Region to further develop tribal environmental programs.

The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Gateway, 1500 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. This conference will include presentations by more than 60 tribal environmental professionals and representatives of state and federal environmental agencies.

This meeting is an opportunity to hear about the progress that tribes have made in protecting reservation air, land and water resources. The conference includes an annual awards banquet honoring tribal environmental leaders who display leadership and innovation in their environmental programs.

"An important part of the U.S. EPA Region 9 mission is working in partnership with federally recognized tribes to protect tribal environmental health and resources," said Wayne Nastri, Regional Administrator for the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. "We are honored to work collaboratively with tribes in one of the most diverse areas of the country, from the Hualapai Reservation at the Grand Canyon to the Monument Valley at Navajo Nation to the Washoe traditional areas of Lake Tahoe."

In undertaking this responsibility, the Region works on a government- to-government basis with the federally recognized tribes of the Pacific Southwest to protect more than 27 million acres, approximately 10% of the Region's land base.

Region 9 currently has active environmental partnerships with 118 of the 146 tribes in our Region. These tribes working in collaboration with EPA, are able to accomplish our shared goals for clean air, water and land, and healthy communities. This year EPA and tribes of the Southwest achieved many environmental successes. Tribes provided 4,298 homes with safe drinking water, 4,126 homes with better sanitation, closed 79 open dumps, and cleaned up 19 leaking underground storage tanks.

This past year, the Navajo Nation worked with a large coal-fired power plant on tribal land to improve the air quality in the Four Corners region. The plant has trimmed its sulfur dioxide emissions by nearly two-thirds over the past two years. That's a reduction of more than 22,500 tons from 2003. As part of the agreement, Navajo EPA assumed regulatory authority over air quality issues for the plant. The agency gained more authority this spring when the U.S. EPA allowed the tribe to administer the plant's operating permit.

In California, the Torres-Martinez Tribe in Riverside County worked with federal, state and local stakeholders to create the Torres Martinez Solid Waste Collaborative, an innovative partnership that is already seeing results. The collaborative has constructed bilingual "No Dumping" billboards and partnered with Crime Stoppers to offer rewards for violators. Four open dumps have already been cleaned up and prevention measures are in place to deter future dumping. The Tribe will continue cleaning up the many remaining dumps and will work with local law enforcement to carry out surveillance and prevention measures. Working with local media, the Tribe will also provide bilingual outreach and education about solid waste and illegal dumping.

More information about Torres-Martinez Tribe.

This past year, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe closed all of the open dumpsites within the reservation. Approximately 32 acres were completely cleared of waste that was illegally dumped. The type of waste in the illegal dumpsites included white goods, tires, household hazardous waste, yard waste, demolition and construction, vehicles, and medical waste. The Tribe is aggressively enforcing a Tribal Illegal Dumping Ordinance to prevent open dumping from occurring again.

Together, tribes and EPA work to protect the environment and the future of tribal lands for generations yet to come.

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