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American Indian
Environmental Office (AIEO)

AIEO leads EPA's efforts to protect human health and the environment of federally recognized tribes by supporting implementation of federal environmental laws consistent with the federal trust responsibility, the government-to-government relationship, and EPA's 1984 Indian Policy.

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EPA Announces 2015 Tribal ecoAmbassadors

Students working on walkway.

Students from Tohono O'odham Community College lay bricks made from recycled glass and adobe at the local cultural center.

On October 27, 2014, Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the agency's 2015 Tribal ecoAmbassadors, tribal college and university professors who work in partnership with EPA scientists to improve environmental conditions and public health in tribal communities. The Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program funds research at tribal colleges and universities, bringing environmental improvements to schools and neighborhoods.

"Through the Tribal ecoAmbassadors program, we are strengthening an important partnership between EPA and tribal communities in addition to supporting research to combat climate change and improve public health," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "This program allows EPA scientists and tribal professors to work side-by-side to improve public health and the environment in tribal communities."

EPA's Tribal ecoAmbassadors, along with their students, will participate in training, conduct research, and share proposed solutions with tribal partners. At the end of this academic year, EPA's Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program will have invested over $1.4 million in tribal communities, and provided 20 tribal college and university professors, and 150 students, the opportunity to work with EPA scientists. In addition, the program has produced several transferable online courses, a viable construction business opportunity, and forged dozens of new partnerships to sustain the program's work.

This year's recipients are:

  • Fond Du Lac College, Cloquet, MN Dr. Courtney Kowalczak:
  • Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM Dr. Annie McDonnell:
  • Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA Ane Berrett, in partnership with AmeriCorps:
  • Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, MT Dr. Robert Kenning:

Press Release and Additional Information:

EPA, DOI Lead White House Council Climate Change Subgroup

Several people seated at a table meeting at the White House.

The White House Council on Native American Affairs Meeting on September 30, 2014.

The Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency are leading a new subgroup on climate change under the White House Council on Native American Affairs, which will share data and information and coordinate Administration efforts to assist tribes in climate resilience and mitigation efforts. So far, over a dozen federal departments/agencies are directly involved.

"Building on the President's commitment to tribal leaders, the partnership will help tribal nations prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change on their land and natural resources," said Secretary Jewell.

At the September 30 meeting, Administrator McCarthy updated the Council on the work of the Climate Change Subgroup, and discussed its efforts to work with tribal leaders to prioritize the major climate change challenges facing Indian Country and help tribal communities combat and minimize the adverse effects.

"Tribes are at the forefront of many climate issues, so we are excited to work in a more cross-cutting way to help address tribal climate needs," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "We've heard from tribal leaders loud and clear: when the federal family combines its efforts, we get better results - and nowhere are these results needed more than in the fight against climate change."

Check out the latest press release for more information.

EPA Policy on EJ for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples

Administrator McCarthy Signs Environmental Justice Policy for Working with Tribes and Indigenous Peoples on July 24th reinforcing the agency's commitment to work with tribes on a government-to-government basis when issues of environmental justice arise.

All tribal and indigenous communities deserve environmental and public health protection. Through this policy, we are reinforcing our commitment to tribal communities, especially in addressing issues of Environmental Justice, said Administrator McCarthy.

Building on EPA's Plan EJ 2014, the policy integrates 17 environmental justice and civil rights principles. The plan also identifies existing informational and resource tools to support EPA in addressing environmental justice concerns raised by Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples throughout the United States.

This policy was developed through tribal government consultations, meetings with state and tribal organizations and three public comment periods engaging indigenous communities and other stakeholders.

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

Administrator McCarthy Visits Indian Country

Administrator McCarthy traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota

In late February, Administrator McCarthy traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota that included a visit to United Tribes Technical College in Bismark, a meeting with Tribal Chairman Archambault and the Tribal Council, a tour of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and tribal environmental program, and a meeting with North Dakota Governor Dalrymple. On Friday, the Administrator was joined by Senator Heidi Heitkamp in a meeting with North Dakota Tribal Chairs.

This is the Administrator's second visit to Indian Country in her first year. Last August, she traveled to Alaska to highlight the President's commitment to addressing climate change and its impact on the state. Administrator McCarthy visited the Portage Glacier near Anchorage to survey the effects of climate change, visited the Bristol Bay watershed where she met with tribes, industry representatives, fishermen, and other stakeholders, and visited Fairbanks to discuss ongoing air quality issues facing the community.

For more information about Administrator McCarthy and her commitment to tribes, please visit: Administrator Gina McCarthy

EPA Tribal Consultation Opportunities

On August 6, 2013, EPA's Designated Consultation Official Michelle DePass, Assistant Administrator for the Office of International & Tribal Affairs, transmitted EPA's annual progress report per President Obama's November 5, 2009 memorandum on tribal consultation to the Office of Management and Budget. The report describes EPA's progress under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.

The Tribal Consultation Opportunities Tracking System (TCOTS) publicizes upcoming and current EPA consultation opportunities for tribal governments. TCOTS allows users to view and sort information, and to submit comments on a tribal consultation. TCOTS is a key feature of EPA's new Consultation and Coordination Policy with Indian Tribes (PDF) (10 pp, 213K) that was released by Former Administrator Jackson on May 4, 2011. The goal of TCOTS is to provide early notification and transparency on EPA consultations with tribal governments.

EPA Releases New Guidance on the Award and Management of General Assistance Agreements for Tribes and Intertribal Consortia

In May 2013, the Agency released a new GAP Guidance document. The guidance incorporates input from the consultation and coordination process ending February 22, 2013. This new Guidance establishes an overall framework for tribes and EPA to follow in building tribal environmental protection program capacities with GAP resources and supersedes previous Agency GAP guidance. The new GAP Guidance affected grant work plans negotiated in the Fiscal Year 2014 funding cycle for activities in Fiscal Year 2015 and beyond.

To help facilitate the implementation of the new guidance, EPA hosted webinars with participation and input from tribes and EPA Program and Regional offices. The slides are available below.

Standard link to the American Indian Environmental Office Tribal Portal

If you would like to link to the tribal portal from your own page, please copy and paste this code into your HTML page:

<div style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; width: 120px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.epa.gov/indian"><img src="http://www.epa.gov/indian/images/turtlelink.jpg" alt="Link to AIEO Tribal Portal ">AIEO Tribal Portal</a> </div>

Which will look like this:

Link to American Indian Environmental Office Tribal Portal
AIEO Tribal Portal

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