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June 15, 2012 - EPA Launches Second Year of Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program 2012 - 2013 Academic Year

EPA recently recognized its inaugural class of Tribal EcoAmbassadors, and is eager to welcome next year's participants.

The Tribal EcoAmbassadors program aims to both promote environmental education and find solutions to environmental problems pertinent to tribal communities. The program reaches out to faculty at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU), awarding selected Tribal EcoAmbassadors financial and technical assistance to support a year-long initiative directed towards an environmental issue of their choosing. Not only does the program grant TCU faculty access to EPA research resources, it also engages TCU students through hands-on experience with research and policymaking while working towards the goal of the project.

Protecting the environment and building strong tribal partnerships are top priorities of the EPA, and the Tribal EcoAmbassadors program works towards accomplishing both of these goals. I urge you to consider featuring the call for applications for the 2012-2013 Tribal EcoAmbassadors program, as participation leads to positive changes on the local level, as well as aiding in the widespread protection of our environment.

Please feel free to contact Marissa McInnis (mcinnis.marissa@epa.gov) if you would like some more information, or visit the website at http://www.epa.gov/ecoambassadors/tribal/index.html.


May 31, 2012 - EPA Launches Video Project Asking Americans Why "Water Is Worth It"

2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the nation's law for protecting our most irreplaceable resource. Everyone deserves clean water ? it is vital for our health, communities, environment and economy. To help commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking people to send in a 15-second video clip about the important role that water plays in their life. Each video should include the phrase "Water Is Worth It," but the rest is up to you. EPA will post selected videos on its website and Facebook page. To learn more and register, visit http://water.epa.gov/action/cleanwater40c/video-project.cfm. Fill out a video entry form, and submit your entry as a video response to the promotional video on EPA's YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/USEPAgov Exit Disclaimer. Video submissions must be received by September 14, 2012. Grab your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, classmates, and pets and let us know why "Water is Worth It" to you!

April 3, 2012 - EPA Seeks Tribal Representation on Key Advisory Committees

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to fill vacancies on the National and Governmental Advisory Committees to the U.S. Representative to the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (http://www.epa.gov/ofacmo/nacgac-page.htm).

Tribal representation is being sought from the U.S.-Canadian border or the U.S.-Mexico border. Nominations for membership must include a cover letter and a resume describing the professional and education qualifications of the nominee and the nominee's current business address and daytime telephone number.

The committees are responsible for providing advice to the United States Representative on a wide range of strategic, scientific, technological, regulatory and economic issues related to implementation and further elaboration of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The National Advisory Committee consists of 12 representatives of environmental groups and non-profit entities, business and industry, and educational institutions. The Governmental Advisory Committee consists of 12 representatives from state, local, and tribal governments.

If you know of someone who would be interested and qualified to serve in this capacity at the state or local level, please contact Oscar Carillo at (202) 564-0347 or at carrillo.oscar@epa.gov. Please provide nominees by April 16th, if possible.

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02/23/12 - Environmental Justice Conference Call with CEQ and EPA on 2/27/12

On Monday, February 27th at 2:00pm ET, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley will host a conference call with Former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to discuss the Obama Administration's ongoing commitment to environmental justice and an important announcement on this topic. Chair Sutley and Former Administrator Jackson will take your questions and provide an update on the activities of the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice.

The information for the call is as follows:

Conference Number: (800) 553-5260 Call name: "Environmental Justice Call for Stakeholders"

We look forward to having you on the call.

Thank you,

White House Council on Environmental Quality
Public Engagement Team

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11/30/11 - Federal Agencies Seek Public Comment on Strategies to Protect People's Health in Communities Overburdened by Pollution

EPA Proposes Updated Vessel General Permit and Permit for Small Vessels / Action would help protect U.S. water quality and lower invasive species risk.
More Information: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/B2BC930144417D2A852579580075CB6C

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11/01/11 - Federal Agencies Seek Public Comment on Strategies to Protect People's Health in Communities Overburdened by Pollution

Federal agencies are currently posting their environmental justice strategies as required by the EJ MOU. Links to these strategies can be found by going to EPA’s EJ IWG website at: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/interagency/index.html.

EPA has led this effort by already seeking public comment for its environmental justice strategy, called Plan EJ 2014, last year and finalizing its strategy in September. Plan EJ 2014 can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/plan-ej/index.html.

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08/12/11 - EPA Releases FY 2012 Exchange Network Grant Solicitation Notice

Exchange Network Grant Applications Due November 4, 2011

Applicants for the FY 2012 Exchange Network Grant program must submit an application package to EPA by November 4, 2011. In FY 2012, EPA expects to award an estimated $10,000,000 for 40 to 50 grants of up to $350,000. The exact number of grants will depend on the amount of EPA’s appropriation for the grant program, the number of applications submitted to EPA by the deadline, the amount requested to produce the proposed results, and the competitive review of the applications received. The primary outcome expected from the Exchange Network assistance agreements is improved access to, and exchange of, high-quality environmental data from public and private sector sources. With this outcome in mind, applications should demonstrate support for and results toward the EN program priorities. EPA will accept project proposals for National Environmental Information Exchange Network grants in one of two ways: 1) a hardcopy mailed or delivered proposal, including one original and two copies or; 2) a proposal submitted electronically through the grants.gov website. EPA anticipates that it will announce selection decisions in or around March 2012. EPA plans to issue the awards by August 2012. 

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08/02/11 - EPA Submits Tribal Consultation Progress Report to OMB

On August 2, 2011, 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, including release of the new EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes (PDF) (10 pp, 213K) that was released by Former Administrator Jackson on May 4, 2011.

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6/29/11 - EPA Launches Tribal EcoAmbassador Program/ Funds Research to Solve Tribal Environmental Problems

EPA Launches Tribal ecoAmbassador Program

CONTACT:
Larry Jackson (News Media Only)
Jackson.Larry@epa.gov
202-564-0236

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2011

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launches the pilot year of its Tribal EcoAmbassadors program, which funds research at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) to address environmental and health issues affecting their communities. EPA’s EcoAmbassadors program helps professors, students and community leaders to bring environmental improvements to their schools and neighborhoods. The initiative is another example of EPA's focus on expanding the conversation on environmentalism, which Former Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's named as one of her top priorities for the agency. Welcoming new voices to the conversation and empowering communities to act on environmental issues is critical to ensuring that EPA's health protections reach every American.

JoAnn Chase, EPA’s Director of the American Indian Environmental Office, met with the Tribal Environmental Managers Partners Workshop and representatives from TCUs to introduce the new initiative and open the application process. “Building stronger tribal partnerships and cleaning up our communities are two of our top priorities,” she said. “Launching Tribal EcoAmbassadors forms an effective partnership where the tribal community can direct EPA resources to the most pressing environmental problems they face, and to start developing solutions.”

Applications are being accepted through July 29 from TCU professors who wish to establish independent study courses with tribal students on issues such as climate adaptation, air quality, water quality, and waste management. Selected Tribal EcoAmbassadors will each receive a grant and will be responsible for recruiting qualified students, participating in training sessions led by EPA, producing a report that outlines research, results, and proposed solutions to the chosen topic, and presenting their research at a future meeting attended by both EPA and tribes.

Information on Tribal ecoAmbassadors or to apply: http://www.epa.gov/ecoambassadors/tribal/index.html

Information on EPA EcoAmbassador programs: http://www.epa.gov/ecoambassadors/index.html

EPA EcoAmbassador programs brochure (PDF) (2 pp, 274K,  About PDF)

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4/12/11 - 2011 EPA Earth Day Events and Stuff You Can Do

In Washington DC - Join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17 for Earth Day on the National Mall. With more than 40 interactive exhibits, kids and adults can have eco-fun with hands on activities, art, music and storytelling. Visitors will learn how to. Also, the 7th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on April 15-17 on the Mall features environmentally friendly, sustainable technologies developed by college student teams from across the country.

Around the country - EPA offices around the country are listing events and activities in and near your community. Events range from easy, family-friendly events to more strenuous volunteer environmental cleanup opportunities. For example, there's a Mystic River cleanup in Massachusetts, Auntie Litter's Parade in Birmingham Alabama, the Mountain Area Earth Day Fair in Evergreen Colorado, and many, many more. See the events page to find events, dates, and times near you!

Events page: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/events.htm for DC and around the country.

ONLINE ACTIVITIES

State of the Environment Photo Project - Starting in April 2011 and over the coming year to Earth Day 2012, EPA is inviting photographers to submit photos on the state of the environment as they experience it, to add to the Documerica project. Read more about the history of Documerica and how to enter your photos Exit Disclaimer.

Sign up to get a daily environmental tip by email during April, and listen to the daily audio tip podcast.

Join us on Facebook Exit Disclaimerand share your Earthday experiences, or use hashtag #earthday on Twitter Exit Disclaimer.

On the go? Get your daily tip from EPA's mobile site!

¿Habla español? Aprenda más acerca del Día del Planeta Tierra y de lo que usted puede hacer para ayudar a proteger el medio ambiente. Escuche los podcasts ambientales. Inscríbase para recibir un consejo por correo electrónico en abril.
http://www.epa.gov/earthday/espanol

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4/15/11 - National EPA-Tribal Science Priorities Process. Deadline for submissions Friday, April 15, 2011

One of the primary responsibilities of the tribally-driven National EPA-Tribal Science Council is to work collaboratively to identify priority science issues of national significance. The National EPA-Tribal Science Council has identified an initial set of issues, and has developed objectives and criteria to narrow and prioritize potential priorities. The six-month process will formally launch in January 2011 and be completed by July 2011. Extension deadline for submissions Friday, April 15, 2011.

For more information on the process and obtain the Tribal Science Priorities Framework package:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. EST
Webinar Link: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/177951251 Exit Disclaimer
Call in number 866-299-3188/Conference ID# 2025648322#

Thursday, March 10, 2011, 2:00–3:30 p.m. EST
Webinar Link: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/383246682 Exit Disclaimer
Call in number 866-299-3188/Conference ID# 2025648322#

For more information on the National EPA-Tribal Science Council, please visit the Science in Indian Country web site.


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3/21/11 - EPA's Watershed Academy Sponsors 57th free Webcast Seminar: "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: Nitrate in Ground Water"

Join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a webcast titled "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: Nitrate in Ground Water" on Tuesday March 29, 2011 at 1:00-3:00 pm (EST). This webcast will highlight an emerging issue of increased nitrate loading to ground water, a growing national concern. According to EPA’s most recent data, public water systems using ground water as a drinking source serve over 300 million people nationwide. The total number of people drinking ground water increases when factoring in households supplied by private drinking water wells. Ground water can become contaminated by nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) leaching from the land surface into the ground water supply.

In a September 2010 report, “Nutrients in the Nation’s Streams and Groundwater,” the U.S. Geological Survey monitored and documented nitrate levels above 10 mg/L, which is the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) set by the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations through the Safe Drinking Water Act, in over 20 percent of shallow household wells in agricultural areas. Additionally, from 1998 to 2008, the number of nitrate violations recorded at public water systems around the country has nearly doubled. Surface sources of drinking water are also at risk. For example, stormwater runoff can carry nutrients directly to rivers, lakes and reservoirs – some of which are used as drinking water supplies. Capital costs to remove nitrates from public water systems or to provide alternative water supplies for individual households can be very high, with some communities spending millions of dollars.

The webcast will provide a national overview of the nitrate in ground water issue and highlight a case study in Oregon’s Southern Willamette Valley. This webcast is a second in a series of Watershed Academy Webcasts on the impacts of nutrients on water resources.

Participants are encouraged to download the presentation, which will be posted prior to the webcast. For more information on the webcast, including the presentation, information on speakers, and to register, visit www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts. More information on nitrates in drinking water can be found at http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/nitrate.cfm.

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3/21/11 - Celebrities 'Invade' Homes to Save Water

March 22 is World Water Day - a day to appreciate all that water gives us in providing public health, environmental and economic benefits. To help educate Americans on the need to save water, EPA's WaterSense program is joining its partner American Water, together with the Student Conservation Association, in promoting the Save Water Today public service campaign to highlight the critical issue of saving water for future generations. Save Water Today is an integral component of American Water’s year-long consumer education campaign promoting water efficiency and source water protection to help mark the company’s 125th anniversary.

The public service announcement (PSA) campaign comprises a quartet of PSAs that bring together Saturday Night Live alumni Rachel Dratch and Horatio Sanz, Diane Neal (formerly of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), and 16-year-old national surfing champion Lakey Peterson to promote household water conservation. In each 30-second announcement, the uninvited – but not entirely unwelcomed – celebrity appears in someone’s home to deliver practical, action tips to viewers.

For more information and to view the PSAs, visit www.savewatertoday.org Exit Disclaimer. For more information on what EPA is doing on water efficiency, visit WaterSense at http://www.epa.gov/watersense.

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3/7/11 - EPA Seeks Public Comments to Help Develop Management Practices for Recreational Vessels

EPA is holding listening sessions and conducting webinars to inform interested parties about the Clean Boating Act and receive public input. The listening sessions will be held in Annapolis, Md. on March 18 and April 29.

More information about the Clean Boating Act: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/vessel/CBA/about.cfm

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/ec5b6cb1c087a2308525735900404445/54b5c369f6425b638525784c005a1d55!OpenDocument

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3/4/11 - EPA Requests Extension on Clean Water Act Permit Requirement for Pesticide Discharges

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting an extension to allow more time for pesticide operators to obtain permits for pesticide discharges into U.S. waters. EPA is requesting that the deadline be extended from April 9, 2011 to October 31, 2011. During the period while the court is considering the extension request, permits for pesticide applications will not be required under the Clean Water Act.

EPA is developing a pesticide general permit in response to the 6th Circuit Court’s 2009 decision, which found that discharges from pesticides into U.S. waters were pollutants, and, therefore, will require a permit under the Clean Water Act as of April 9, 2011. The final permit will reduce discharges of pesticides to aquatic ecosystems, thus helping to protect the nation’s waters and public health.

The extension request is important to allow sufficient time for EPA to engage in Endangered Species Act consultation and complete the development of an electronic database to streamline requests for coverage under the Agency’s general permit. It also allows time for authorized states to finish developing their state permits and for permitting authorities to provide additional outreach to stakeholders on pesticide permit requirements.

EPA’s general permit will be available to cover pesticide discharges to waters of the U.S. in MA, NH, NM, ID, OK, AK, DC, most U.S. territories and Indian country lands, and many federal facilities.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pesticides

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2/18/11 - EPA Seeks Public Comment on Plan to Review Regulations

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/1e5ab1124055f3b28525781f0042ed40/3ce60815f7fa5d508525783b005884fd!OpenDocument

President Obama recently issued Executive Order 13563, requiring each agency to develop a plan to periodically conduct a retrospective review of its regulations, and determine if they are ineffective, insufficient, or overly burdensome, and then revise or repeal as warranted. In response, EPA is developing a review plan and a list of candidate regulations for potential review, and we would like to solicit your feedback on both. In order to do so, the Office of Water is participating in two listening sessions to be held on March 14th and March 17th, 2011.

EPA will hold an Agency-wide Public Meeting on Monday March 14, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. to solicit feedback on the Agency's draft review plan and all EPA regulations. The Office of Water will be hosting two water-specific listening sessions in the afternoon. This public meeting will be held at the Hilton Arlington, 950 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22203. Additional information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/improvingregulations/ Registration information for the March 14th Public Meeting is available here: http://improvingregulations.eventbrite.com/ Exit Disclaimer

The Office of Water will also solicit input from the public and hold a webinar listening session on water-specific significant regulations on March 17th, from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m., EST. Additional information, including information on registering for this webinar, can be obtained by going to EPA's website http://www.epa.gov/improvingregulations/, or contact Keith Bartlett at Bartlett.Keith@epa.gov.

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2/15/11 - EPA Science Advisory Board Office is Seeking Nominations for EJ Technical Review Panel

EPA is developing technical guidance to direct analysts and decision makers on how to integrate environmental justice in regulatory development. The purpose of the guide is to provide technical direction to EPA staff and managers to aid them in incorporating environmental justice into the development of risk assessment, economic analysis and other scientific input and policy choices as an integral part of the agency rulemaking process.

The EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office is requesting public nominations for experts to serve on the SAB Environmental Justice Technical Guidance (EJTG) Review Panel. Nominations are due by March 7, 2011.

For more information: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/0/0F7D1A0D7D15001B8525783000673AC3/?OpenDocument

Please refer to the instructions in the federal register notice at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-02-14/html/2011-3278.htm

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1/24/11 - Global Mercury Negotiation

In 2009, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Program agreed on the need to develop a global legally binding instrument on mercury. The work to prepare this instrument will be undertaken by an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC). Participation in the INC is open to all Governments, and intergovernmental organizations; nongovernmental organizations may also take part as observers. On January 6, 2011, the U.S. Department of State hosted a teleconference with Tribal Representatives. The purpose of the call was to solicit tribal views in preparation for INC meetings.

Additional information on what EPA is doing in these negotiations and other INC information.

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1/18/11 - Department of Interior/Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Memorandum of Understanding Meeting

AA DePass and Director Chase participated in a meeting regarding the DOI/INAC MOU, which concerns indigenous and northern issues. The meeting was convened by several US and Canadian philanthropic foundations, who invited northern indigenous peoples organizations (or IPOs, their preferred term as opposed to NGOs), along with US and Canadian government representatives for a discussion of possible work under the MOU. The three areas identified for possible future discussions among the participants are: 1) the collection and application of data, e.g., via mapping, relevant to how subsistence values might change with a changing climate; 2) developing a common platform on North American indigenous issues in the context of the Arctic Council; and 3) information exchange opportunities, e.g., through sharing of best practices, networking, and conferences. [DePass, Chase, Guest]

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1/14/11 - EPA, Schools To Tackle Indoor Air Quality

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/4c9742d4a179667085257818005cf1cd!OpenDocument

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1/14/11 - January 14, 2011: Secretary Salazar, Assistant Secretary Echo Hawk Submit Draft Consultation Policy to Tribal Leaders

http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Secretary-Salazar-Assistant-Secretary-Echo-Hawk-Submit-Draft-Consultation-Policy-to-Tribal-Leaders.cfm

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1/14/11 - EPA Grants Continue to Protect Beachgoers

CONTACT:
Jalil Isa (News Media Only)
isa.jalil@epa.gov
202-564-3226
202-564-4355

Denise Hawkins (Public Inquiries)
hawkins.denise@epa.gov
(202) 566-1384

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2011

EPA Grants Continue to Protect Beachgoers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing almost $10 million in grants to 37 states, territories and tribes to help protect swimmers and beachgoers at America’s beaches. The grants will help local authorities monitor beach water quality and notify the public of conditions that may be unsafe for swimming. The grants have enabled states and territories to more than double the number of beaches they monitor since 2003. This continues EPA’s efforts to help beach managers provide consistent public health protection and up-to-date information about local beach conditions.

“EPA’s grants are helping states monitor their beaches and providing beachgoers with information to make healthy decisions,” said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “Increased public information about beach water quality also serves as a motivator for people to identify sources of contamination and to take action.”

Each swimming season, state and local health and environmental protection agencies monitor the quality of water at the nation’s beaches. When bacteria levels in the water are too high, these agencies notify the public by posting beach warnings or closing the beach. In 2007, an estimated 96 million people made at least one visit to a U.S. ocean beach, spending a total of 1.4 billion days at ocean beaches.

This is the 11th year that EPA is providing beach grant funds, bringing the total amount EPA has made available to nearly $102 million since Congress passed the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000. Through this funding, the number of monitored beaches has almost quadrupled from about 1,000 in 1997 to more than 3,800 in 2009.

More information: http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/beachgrants/index.cfm

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1/10/11 - EPA Announces the Availability of a Web-based Training Series for NPDES Permit Writers

EPA has created a web-based training series, based on its popular in-person National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Writer's Course, which allows state and EPA Regional permitting staff, as well as stakeholders and the public, to access NPDES permit program training content online.

The NPDES Permit Writer's Course is a five-day training session covering the key elements of NPDES permit development. The course is taught by experienced EPA staff and contractors and has been very well received by EPA Regions and authorized NPDES states. Due to the high demand for the course, EPA has developed and recorded Web-based presentations covering much of the material presented in the live course. These recorded presentations enable participants who attended the NPDES Permit Writer's Course to review the material on demand in a self-paced environment. The presentations also are useful for those who have not attended a live course, but who wish to become familiar with important concepts of the NPDES permit program.

Several training modules were previously posted on EPA's NPDES Training Courses and Workshops web page; however, the 13-part series is now complete. In addition, a new feature has been added that allows the user to print a "course completion certificate" if they achieve a passing score on the module quiz. After printing the certificate, the user may also (voluntarily) click a link to send their contact information to EPA for tracking purposes.

The NPDES Web-based training series can be accessed at: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/training under “Self-Paced Web Training.” For more information please contact: David Hair (hair.david@epa.gov; 202-564-2287)

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1/7/11 - EPA and HHS Announce New Scientific Assessments and Actions on Fluoride

Agencies working together to maintain benefits of preventing tooth decay while preventing excessive exposure

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today are announcing important steps to ensure that standards and guidelines on fluoride in drinking water continue to provide the maximum protection to the American people to support good dental health, especially in children. HHS is proposing that the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water can be set at the lowest end of the current optimal range to prevent tooth decay, and EPA is initiating review of the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water.

These actions will maximize the health benefits of water fluoridation, an important tool in the prevention of tooth decay while reducing the possibility of children receiving too much fluoride. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named the fluoridation of drinking water one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

“One of water fluoridation’s biggest advantages is that it benefits all residents of a community—at home, work, school, or play,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH. “Today’s announcement is part of our ongoing support of appropriate fluoridation for community water systems, and its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay throughout one’s lifetime.”

“Today both HHS and EPA are making announcements on fluoride based on the most up to date scientific data,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water Peter Silva. “EPA’s new analysis will help us make sure that people benefit from tooth decay prevention while at the same time avoiding the unwanted health effects from too much fluoride.”

HHS and EPA reached an understanding of the latest science on fluoride and its effect on tooth decay prevention, and the development of dental fluorosis that may occur with excess fluoride consumption during the tooth forming years, age 8 and younger. Dental fluorosis in the United States appears mostly in the very mild or mild form – as barely visible lacy white markings or spots on the enamel. The severe form of dental fluorosis, with staining and pitting of the tooth surface, is rare in the United States.

There are several reasons for the changes seen over time, including that Americans have access to more sources of fluoride than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced in the United States in the 1940s. Water is now one of several sources of fluoride. Other common sources include dental products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, prescription fluoride supplements, and fluoride applied by dental professionals. Water fluoridation and fluoride toothpaste are largely responsible for the significant decline in tooth decay in the U.S. over the past several decades.

HHS’ proposed recommendation of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water replaces the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. This updated recommendation is based on recent EPA and HHS scientific assessments to balance the benefits of preventing tooth decay while limiting any unwanted health effects. These scientific assessments will also guide EPA in making a determination of whether to lower the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water, which is set to prevent adverse health effects.

The new EPA assessments of fluoride were undertaken in response to findings of the National Academies of Science (NAS). At EPA’s request, NAS reviewed new data on fluoride in 2006 and issued a report recommending that EPA update its health and exposure assessments to take into account bone and dental effects and to consider all sources of fluoride. In addition to EPA’s new assessments and the NAS report, HHS also considered current levels of tooth decay and dental fluorosis and fluid consumption across the United States.

Comments regarding the EPA documents, Fluoride: Dose-Response Analysis For Non-cancer Effects and Fluoride: Exposure and Relative Source Contribution Analysis should be sent to EPA at FluorideScience@epa.gov. The documents can be found at http://water.epa.gov/action/advisories/drinking/fluoride_index.cfm

The notice of the proposed recommendation will be published in the Federal Register soon and HHS will accept comments from the public and stakeholders on the proposed recommendation for 30 days at CWFcomments@cdc.gov. HHS is expecting to publish final guidance for community water fluoridation by spring 2011. You may view a prepublication version of the proposed recommendation at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/01/pre_pub_frn_fluoride.html.

More information about the national drinking water regulations for fluoride:
http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/fluoride.cfm

Q&A’s on latest EPA actions on fluoride:
http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/regulatingcontaminants/sixyearreview/upload/2011_Fluoride_QuestionsAnswers.pdf (10 pp, 55K,  About PDF)

More information on EPA’s fluoride assessment and to comment:
http://water.epa.gov/action/advisories/drinking/fluoride_index.cfm

More information about community water fluoridation, information on tooth decay prevention and dental fluorosis:
http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation

CONTACTS:
HHS Office of the Assistant
Secretary for Health (OASH)
Public Affairs
ashmedia@hhs.gov
202-205-0143

EPA
Jalil Isa (Media Inquiries Only)
isa.jalil@epa.gov
202-564-3226
202-564-4355

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1/3/11 - Federal Agencies Join Efforts to Reduce Radon Exposure

Radon Exposure is the Leading Cause of Non-Smoking Lung Cancer

CONTACT:
Stacy Kika ( kika.stacy@epa.gov )
202-564-0906
202-564-4355

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 3, 2011

WASHINGTON - January is National Radon Action Month and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and eight other federal agencies are announcing a new effort to strengthen the fight against radon exposure. Radon exposure is the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer. Senior leaders from the federal agencies are pledging to work together to create a national risk reduction plan for radon that will help save lives and create safer, healthier homes for all Americans.

"Radon is a serious public health threat that leads to more than 21,000 deaths each year," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "This new federal partnership will help Americans reduce their risk of radon exposure."

Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. One in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. By taking simple steps to test your home for radon and fix if necessary, this health hazard can be avoided.

If your home hasn't been tested for radon in the past two years, EPA and the Surgeon General urge you to take action. Contact your state radon office for information on locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers.

The federal commitment made by EPA, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs will focus efforts on radon reduction and mitigation in homes, especially those of low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones.

At the end of January, the federal consortium will meet with key leaders in the public health, environmental and private sectors to begin shaping a national action plan that includes both immediate and long-term steps to reduce radon exposure.

More information on the joint federal initiative to reduce radon exposure: http://www.epa.gov/radon/federal_summit.html

More information on radon and testing your home: http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html

To find your state radon office: http://www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html

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12/16/10 - Remarks by the President at the White House Second Tribal Nations Conference Opening Session

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by the President at the White House Tribal Nations Conference Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

For Immediate Release
December 16, 2010
9:39 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Everybody please be seated. Thank you.

Thank you, Fawn, for that wonderful introduction. Thanks to all of you. It is wonderful to be with you here today.

I see a lot of friends, a lot of familiar faces in the house. I want to thank all the tribal leaders who have traveled here for this conference. And I also want to recognize all the wonderful members of Congress who are here, as well as members of my Cabinet, including Secretary Salazar, who is doing terrific work here at Interior on behalf of the First Americans and on behalf of all Americans. So thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)

Yesterday, I had the chance to meet with several tribal leaders at the White House, continuing a conversation that began long before I was President. And while I’m glad to have the opportunity to speak with you this morning, I’m also very eager to see the results of today’s meeting. I want to hear more from you about how we can strengthen the relationship between our governments, whether in education or health care, or in fighting crime or in creating jobs. 

And that’s why we’re here today. That’s a promise I’ve made to you. I remember, more than two years ago, in Montana, I visited the Crow Nation -- one of the many times I met with tribal leaders on the campaign trail. You may know that on that trip, I became an adopted Crow Indian. My Crow name is “One Who Helps People Throughout the Land.” (Applause.) And my wife, when I told her about this, she said, “You should be named ‘One Who Isn’t Picking Up His Shoes and His Socks’.” (Laughter.)

Now -- but I like the first name better. And I want you to know that I’m working very hard to live up to that name.

What I said then was that as President I would make sure that you had a voice in the White House. (Applause.) I said that so long as I held this office, never again would Native Americans be forgotten or ignored. (Applause.) And over the past two years, my administration, working hand in hand with many of you, has strived to keep that promise. And you’ve had strong partners in Kim Teehee, my senior advisor for Native American issues, and Jodi Gillette, in our Intergovernmental Affairs office. You can give them a big round of applause. They do outstanding work. (Applause.)

Last year, we held the largest gathering of tribal leaders in our history. And at that conference -- you remember, most of you were there -- I ordered every Cabinet agency to promote more consultation with the tribal nations. Because I don’t believe that the solutions to any of our problems can be dictated solely from Washington. Real change depends on all of us doing our part.

So over the past year my administration has worked hard to strengthen the relationship between our nations. And together, we have developed a comprehensive strategy to help meet the challenges facing Native American communities.

Our strategy begins with the number one concern for all Americans right now -- and that’s improving the economy and creating jobs. We’ve heard time and again from tribal leaders that one of the keys to unlocking economic growth on reservations is investments in roads and high-speed rail and high-speed Internet and the infrastructure that will better connect your communities to the broader economy. That’s essential for drawing capital and creating jobs on tribal lands. So to help spur the economy, we’ve boosted investment in roads throughout the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Reservation Road Program, and we’ve offered new loans to reach reservations with broadband.

And as part of our plan to revive the economy, we’ve also put billions of dollars into pressing needs like renovating schools. We’re devoting resources to job training -- especially for young people in Indian Country who too often have felt like they don’t have a chance to succeed. And we’re working with you to increase the size of tribal homelands in order to help you develop your economies.

I also want to note that I support legislation to make clear -- in the wake of a recent Supreme Court decision -- that the Secretary of Interior can take land into trust for all federally recognized tribes. (Applause.) That’s something that I discussed yesterday with tribal leaders.

We’re also breaking down bureaucratic barriers that have prevented tribal nations from developing clean energy like wind and solar power. It’s essential not just to your prosperity, but to the prosperity of our whole country. And I’ve proposed increasing lending to tribal businesses by supporting community financial institutions so they can finance more loans. It is essential in order to help businesses expand and hire in areas where it can be hard to find credit.

Another important part of our strategy is health care. We know that Native Americans die of illnesses like diabetes, pneumonia, flu -- even tuberculosis -- at far higher rates than the rest of the population. Make no mistake: These disparities represent an ongoing tragedy. They’re cutting lives short, causing untold pain and hardship for Native American families. And closing these gaps is not just a question of policy, it’s a question of our values -- it’s a test of who we are as a nation.

Now, last year, at this conference, tribal leaders talked about the need to improve the health care available to Native Americans, and to make quality insurance affordable to all Americans. And just a few months later, I signed health reform legislation into law, which permanently authorizes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act -- permanently. (Applause.) It’s going to make it possible for Indian tribes and tribal organizations to purchase health care for their employees, while making affordable coverage available to everybody, including those who use the Indian Health Service -- that’s most American Indians and native -- Alaska Natives. So it’s going to make a huge difference.

Of course, there are few steps we can take that will make more of a difference for the future of your communities than improving education on tribal lands. We’ve got to improve the education we provide to our children. That’s the cornerstone on which all of our progress will be built. We know that Native Americans are far more likely to drop out of high school and far less likely to go to college. That not only damages the prospects for tribal economies; it’s a heartbreaking waste of human potential. We cannot afford to squander the promise of our young people. Your communities can’t afford it, and our country can’t afford it. And we are going to start doing something about it. (Applause.)

We’re rebuilding schools on tribal lands while helping to ensure that tribes play a bigger role in determining what their children learn. We’re working to empower parents with more and better options for schools for their kids -- as well as with support programs that actually work with Indian parents to give them a real voice in improving education in your communities.

We’re also working to improve the programs available to students at tribal colleges. Students who study at tribal colleges are much less likely to leave college without a degree and the vast majority end up in careers serving their tribal nation. And these schools are not only helping to educate Native Americans; they’re also helping to preserve rich but often endangered languages and traditions. I’d also like to point out last year I signed historic reforms that are increasing student aid and making college loans more affordable. That’s especially important to Native Americans struggling to pay for a college degree. (Applause.)

Now, all these efforts -- improving health care, education, the economy -- ultimately these efforts will not succeed unless all of our communities are safe places to grow up and attend school and open businesses and where people are not living under the constant threat of violence and crime. And that threat remains real, as crime rates in Indian Country are anywhere from twice to 20 times the national average. That’s a sobering statistics -- represents a cloud over the future of your communities.

So the Justice Department, under the leadership of Eric Holder, is working with you to reform the way justice is done on Indian reservations. And I was proud to sign the Tribal Law and Order Act into law, which is going to help tribes combat drug and alcohol abuse, to have more access to criminal databases, and to gain greater authority to prosecute and punish criminals in Indian Country. That’s important. (Applause.)

We’ve also resolved a number of longstanding disputes about the ways that our government has treated -- or in some cases mistreated -- folks in Indian Country, even in recent years. We’ve settled cases where there were allegations of discrimination against Native American farmers and ranchers by the Department of Agriculture. And after a 14-year battle over the accounting of tribal resources in the Cobell case, we reached a bipartisan agreement, which was part of a law I signed just a week ago. We’re very proud of that and I want to thank all the legislators who helped make that happen. (Applause.)

This will put more land in the hands of tribes to manage or otherwise benefit their members. This law also includes money to settle lawsuits over water rights for seven tribes in Arizona, Montana and New Mexico -- and it creates a scholarship fund so more Native Americans can afford to go to college.

These cases serve as a reminder of the importance of not glossing over the past or ignoring the past, even as we work together to forge a brighter future. That’s why, last year, I signed a resolution, passed by both parties in Congress, finally recognizing the sad and painful chapters in our shared history -- a history too often marred by broken promises and grave injustices against the First Americans. It’s a resolution I fully supported -- recognizing that no statement can undo the damage that was done; what it can do is help reaffirm the principles that should guide our future. It’s only by heeding the lessons of our history that we can move forward.

And as you know, in April, we announced that we were reviewing our position on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And today I can announce that the United States is lending its support to this declaration. (Applause.)

The aspirations it affirms -- including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples -- are one we must always seek to fulfill. And we’re releasing a more detailed statement about U.S. support for the declaration and our ongoing work in Indian Country. But I want to be clear: What matters far more than words -- what matters far more than any resolution or declaration -– are actions to match those words. And that’s what this conference is about.  (Applause.) That’s what this conference is about. That’s the standard I expect my administration to be held to.

So we’re making progress. We’re moving forward. And what I hope is that we are seeing a turning point in the relationship between our nations. The truth is, for a long time, Native Americans were implicitly told that they had a choice to make. By virtue of the longstanding failure to tackle wrenching problems in Indian Country, it seemed as though you had to either abandon your heritage or accept a lesser lot in life; that there was no way to be a successful part of America and a proud Native American.

But we know this is a false choice. To accept it is to believe that we can’t and won’t do better. And I don’t accept that. I know there is not a single person in this room who accepts that either. We know that, ultimately, this is not just a matter of legislation, not just a matter of policy. It’s a matter of whether we’re going to live up to our basic values. It’s a matter of upholding an ideal that has always defined who we are as Americans. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.

That’s why we’re here. That’s what we’re called to do. And I’m confident that if we keep up our efforts, that if we continue to work together, that we will live up to the simple motto and we will achieve a brighter future for the First Americans and for all Americans.

So thank you very much. God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)

END

For more information:

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12/16/10 - Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

President Obama today announced United States support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The announcement, made during the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the U.S. Department of the Interior, underscores the U.S. commitment to strengthening government-to-government relationships with federally recognized tribes and furthering U.S. policy on indigenous issues.

Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PDF) (15 pp, 315K, About PDF)

For more information: http://www.state.gov/s/tribalconsultation/declaration/index.htm

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PDF) (11 pp, 70K, About PDF)

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12/16/10 - EPA Seeks Public Comment on Policy for Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes / Goal is to enhance dialogue between tribes and EPA officials

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking comment on the agency's proposed “Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes.” The goals of the policy are to involve tribal officials when EPA is taking actions or implementing decisions that may affect tribes. It identifies clear standards for the consultation process, including defining on what, when, and how consultation will take place; designates specific EPA personnel responsible for serving as consultation points of contact in order to promote consistency, and coordination in the consultation process; and establishes a management oversight and reporting structure that will ensure accountability and transparency.

The document builds on EPA's 1984 Indian Policy and complies with the Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation issued November 5, 2009, directing agencies to develop a plan to fully implement Executive Order 13175.

EPA’s proposed policy will be available for public comment for 60 days.

More information on the proposed policy and how to comment: visit American Indian Tribal Portal

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12/15/10 - EPA Announces 2010 Achievements in Environmental Justice/Partnerships address local environmental justice concerns and help improve health in disadvantaged communities

Event information available at EPA Newsroom.

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12/15/10 - Obama Administration Convenes Environmental Leaders at Historic White House Environmental Justice Forum Featuring Five Cabinet Secretaries

Event information available at EPA Newsroom.

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» 12/15/10 - First White House Environmental Justice Forum with Environmental Leaders and Cabinet Secretaries

Event information available at EPA Newsroom.

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» 12/14/10 - EPA and Peace Corps Sign a Memorandum of Understanding

Event information available at EPA Newsroom.

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12/9/10 - EPA and Other Federal Agencies to Hold Bed Bug Summit in February 1-2, 2011

CONTACT:
Dale Kemery (News Media Only)
kemery.dale@epa.gov
202-564-7839
202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – To help find solutions to the nation’s bed bug problem, the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup is convening a second national summit set for February 1-2, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The summit is open to the public and will focus on ways the federal government and others can continue to work together on management and control of these pests.

The first federal bed bug summit was held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2009. Since then, EPA has helped organize the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup, which consists of EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and National Institutes of Health.

The summit’s agenda will feature discussions on progress since the last summit from various perspectives, including federal, state, and local governments; research; housing industry; and pest management industry. The agenda also includes identifying knowledge gaps and barriers to effective community-wide bed bug control, proposals for next steps in addressing knowledge gaps and eliminating barriers, and developing a framework for addressing the highest priority needs.

As a reminder, there are steps people can take to prevent bed bugs:

Before the summit, the federal workgroup will meet with researchers to evaluate and develop a research agenda related to bed bugs. The summit will be held at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center at 3800 Reservoir Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. The agenda and information on attending the meeting via webinar will be available on EPA’s website.

More information on the summit: http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/ppdc/bedbug-summit/2nd-bedbug-summit.html

More information on bed bugs: http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/

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12/6/10 - EPA Announces 2010 Enforcement and Compliance Results

EPA Announces 2010 Enforcement and Compliance Results

More than 1.4 billion pounds of harmful air, land, and water pollution to be reduced

CONTACT:
Stacy Kika (News media only)
kika.stacy@epa.gov
202-564-0906
202-564-4355

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2010

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the release of its annual enforcement and compliance results. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, EPA took enforcement and compliance actions that require polluters to pay more than $110 million in civil penalties and commit to spend an estimated $12 billion on pollution controls, cleanup, and environmental projects that benefit communities. These actions when completed will reduce pollution by more than 1.4 billion pounds and protect businesses that comply with regulations by holding non-compliant businesses accountable when environmental laws are violated.

“At EPA, we are dedicated to aggressively go after pollution problems that make a difference in our communities through vigorous civil and criminal enforcement,” stated Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Our commitment to environmental enforcement is grounded in the knowledge that people not only desire, but expect, the protection of the water they drink, the air they breathe and the communities they call home.”

EPA’s civil enforcement actions for violations of the Clean Air Act alone will account for the reduction of an estimated 400 million pounds of air pollution per year. Those reductions will represent between $6.2 billion and $15 billion annually in avoided health costs. As a result of water cases concluded in FY 2010, EPA is ensuring that an estimated 1 billion pounds of water pollution per year will be reduced, eliminated or properly managed and investments in pollution control and environmental improvement projects from parties worth approximately $8 billion will be made. EPA’s civil enforcement actions also led to commitments to treat, minimize or properly dispose of more than an estimated 11.8 billion pounds of hazardous waste.

EPA’s criminal enforcement program opened 346 new environmental crime cases in FY 2010. These cases led to 289 defendants charged for allegedly committing environmental crimes, the largest number in five years, 198 criminals convicted and $41 million assessed in fines and restitution.

This year’s annual results include an enhanced mapping tool that allows the public to view detailed information about the enforcement actions taken at more than 4,500 facilities that concluded in FY 2010 on an interactive map of the United States and its territories. The map shows facilities and sites where civil and criminal enforcement actions were taken for alleged violations of U.S. environmental laws regulating air, water, and land pollution. The mapping tool also displays community-based activities like the locations of the environmental justice grants awarded in FY 2010 and the Environmental Justice Showcase Communities.

The release of the EPA’s enforcement and compliance results and the accompanying mapping tool are part of EPA’s commitment to transparency. They are intended to improve public access to data and provide the public with tools to demonstrate EPA’s efforts to protect human health and the environment in communities across the nation.

View the FY 2010 results and an announcement message from Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Cynthia Giles: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/endofyear/eoy2010/index.html

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12/3/10 - EPA Launches Website to Increase Transparency of Regulatory Activity

CONTACT:
Richard Yost
email: yost.richard@epa.gov
phone: 202-564-7827/202-564-4355

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new website called Reg Stat that will enhance public understanding of its regulatory process and the number, type, and range of regulatory documents developed each year by the agency. This new resource is part of the EPA’s continuing efforts to enhance the accessibility and transparency of its regulatory activities.

Reg Stat provides information on EPA documents published in the Federal Register between 2005 and 2009. It also provides in-depth information on rulemakings likely to be of most interest to stakeholders -- those rules signed by the EPA administrator that substantively amend the Code of Federal Regulations. Users will be able to determine the number of rules signed by the administrator, how long it took to develop each rule, whether a rule underwent Executive Order 12866 regulatory review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the length of OMB review. Both summary graphics and searchable data tables are available.

An analysis of the data featured on Reg Stat shows that EPA publishes 1,700 to 1,900 documents in the Federal Register each year. Notices, which provide general information of public interest such as meeting announcements, make up the majority of these documents. Approximately 7 percent, or about 100, of those documents are rules that amend the Code of Federal Regulations and require the administrator’s signature; the average time to publish these rules is 974 days.

Users will be able to download and sort the data based on categories of interest. Information on Reg Stat will be updated annually.

More information on Reg Stat: http://www.epa.gov/regstat

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EPA @ 40 Image

Healthier Families. Cleaner Communities. A Stronger America.

For 40 years, EPA has worked to protect human health and safeguard our natural environment. Although there is still much left to accomplish, America has made significant strides in reducing the pollution that can threaten the air we breathe, the water we use and the communities we live in.

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11/30/10 - EPA Announces Help Protect the Environment – Report Environmental Violations Native American Youth Artwork Contest Winners

The contest challenged participants to create posters about protecting the environment and reporting environmental violations. The contest was open to all middle and high school students who are members of a federally recognized tribe. EPA will use the artwork on its website and on posters encouraging the reporting of environmental violations.

Finalists were voted on by: Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Michael Stahl, Acting Director of the American Indian Environmental Office, Fred Burnside, Director of the Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training, and Gary L. Edwards, CEO for the National Native American Law Enforcement Association

http://www.epa.gov/compliance/criminal/contest/tribal.html


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11/22/10 - Memo on Ocean Acidification and Clean Water Act 303(d) Listing Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a Memorandum to assist the Regions and States in preparing and reviewing Integrated Reports related to ocean acidification (OA) impacts under Sections 303(d), 305(b), and 314 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Under the 303(d) program, States, Territories, and authorized Tribes are required to develop lists of "water-quality limited segments" every two years. EPA agreed to issue this Memorandum as part of a settlement agreement describing how EPA will proceed with regard to the issue of OA and the 303(d) program. The Memorandum recognizes the seriousness of aquatic life impacts associated with OA and describes how States can move forward, where OA information exists, to address OA during the 303(d) 2012 listing cycle using the current 303(d) Integrated Reporting (IR) framework. At the same time, this Memorandum also acknowledges and recognizes that in the case of OA, information is largely absent or limited at this point in time to support the listing of waters for OA in many States. EPA expects to provide additional 303(d) guidance to the States when future OA research efforts provide the basis for improved monitoring and assessment methods, including approaches being developed under other Federal efforts.

More information: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/tmdl/oa_memo_nov2010.cfm

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11/20/10 - Secretary Salazar Lauds Senate Passage of Five Historic Indian Country Settlements to Resolves Cobell Litigation and to Deliver Clean Water to Indian Communities

Washington, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today lauded Senate approval of legislation to authorize implementation of the Cobell Settlement, a $3.4 billion agreement that will resolve the long-running contentious class action lawsuit regarding the U.S. government's trust management and accounting of individual American Indian Trust accounts.

More information: News Release (PDF) (3 pp, 45K, About PDF)

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11/18/10 - Former EPA Administrator Appoints Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson to Chair National Advisory Group

CONTACT: Stacy Kika (email: Kika.stacy@epa.gov ), 202-564-0906 or 202-564-4355

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2010

WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has appointed Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson of Greenville, Miss., to chair EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC). LGAC is an independent committee of elected and appointed officials to advise the agency on a broad range of environmental issues effecting communities across the country.

“Hearing directly from state, local and tribal leaders is essential for EPA to make a real difference for the health and environment of our communities,” Former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “Mayor McTeer-Hudson has shown superior leadership in her service to Greenville. Her commitment to environmental justice and her distinct insight into the ways environmental issues affect local communities make her the right person to chair this important panel. I look forward to working together.”

EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee met on Nov. 17-18, 2010, to provide advice on how best to advance the administrator’s seven priorities. EPA, states, tribes and local governments share the responsibility for environmental and human health protection, and EPA seeks to strengthen these partnerships to find innovative solutions to the challenges of climate change, cleaning our air, protecting our waters, and cleaning our communities.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/ocir/scas_lgac/lgac_index.htm

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11/15/10 - White House Announces Second Tribal Nations Conference

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 15, 2010

President Obama Announces 2010 White House Tribal Nations Conference

WASHINGTON - On Thursday, December 16, 2010, President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the second White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation to nation relationship with Indian Country.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/15/president-obama-announces-2010-white-house-tribal-nations-conference

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11/8/10 - All Hazards Risk Assessment and Consequence Analysis Tools for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing two software tools for risk assessment and consequence analysis:

The release of VSAT and WHEAT will provide drinking water, wastewater, and combined utilities of all sizes with the capability to assess, plan for, and better respond to man-made threats and natural disasters.

VSAT is an interactive desktop software tool that employs a proven methodology to enable users to perform customized risk assessments. The upgraded tool not only evaluates man-made threats but has a new feature that allows users to assess four different natural disaster scenarios: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes. VSAT has the flexibility for the user to assess other types of natural disasters as well.

WHEAT is an intuitive desktop software tool that assists drinking water utility owners and operators in quantifying public health impacts, utility financial costs, and regional economic impacts of an accidental or adverse event. Currently, WHEAT generates consequence results based on two scenarios for drinking water utilities: 1) release of a hazardous gas and 2) loss of operating assets. There are future plans to develop similar wastewater utility modules.

The benefits to drinking water and wastewater utilities using these tools are the following:

The VSAT and WHEAT tools are available for download free of charge through EPA’s website at: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/techtools/index.cfm

For more information about either tool, contact John DeGour at degour.john@epa.gov or Curt Baranowski at baranowski.curt@epa.gov of EPA.

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11/3/10 - EPA Administrator to Lead First Public Meeting of Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Task Force

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 3, 2010

WASHINGTON - On Monday, November 8, Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will convene the first official meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force in Pensacola, Fla. She will be joined by Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, along with representatives from other federal agencies, and gulf coast state and local officials. The public meeting will focus on challenges in the gulf, staffing and logistics, and task force objectives. Members of the task force will be introduced during the meeting.

Administrator Jackson will hold a press availability at 2:15 p.m. with other members of the task force.

President Obama issued an executive order in October to create the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, continuing the administration's ongoing commitment to the gulf region. The task force works to integrate federal restoration efforts with those of local stakeholders and state and tribal governments, and to facilitate accountability and support throughout the restoration process. View the President's executive order: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/05/executive-order-gulf-coast-ecosystem-restoration-task-force.

To RSVP for this meeting, please visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r1/videolen.nsf/GulfCoastTaskForce.

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11/2/10 - EPA Fugitive Arrested in the Dominican Republica

EPA Fugitive Arrested in the Dominican Republic

Albania Deleon fled U.S. prior to sentencing related to asbestos training scam

WASHINGTON - Nineteen months after she fled her federal sentencing hearing, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fugitive Albania Deleon was captured on Saturday in the Dominican Republic. Dominican law enforcement authorities with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service, arrested Deleon, who had disguised her appearance and assumed a false identity, following a vehicle stop. Deleon was wanted by EPA for certifying individuals as having asbestos removal training when they never took the required course.

“Albania Deleon put communities at risk by issuing fraudulent asbestos-removal training certificates to hundreds of untrained workers,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This is yet another example of great teamwork and dedication of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, U.S. Marshals Service and our own special agents who protect the American people from environmental crimes.”

“We are pleased that Albania Deleon will at last face punishment for the crimes for which she was convicted,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “I wish to commend and thank the Dominican law enforcement authorities and U.S. Marshals Service for their hard work in pursuing her.”

On Nov. 20, 2008, Deleon, 41, was convicted in federal court after nearly a three week trial on one count of conspiracy to make false statements, to encourage illegal aliens to reside in the United States and to hire illegal aliens; five counts of making false statements within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; 16 counts of procuring false payroll tax returns; and five counts of mail fraud.

From approximately 2001 to 2006, Deleon owned and operated Environmental Compliance Training (ECT), a certified asbestos training school located in Methuen, Mass. ECT normally offered training courses on a weekly basis at its offices, however, many of the recipients of the certificates never took the required course. Instead, with Deleon’s knowledge and approval, ECT’s employees issued certificates of course completion to hundreds of individuals who did not take the course. These individuals filed the certificates with the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety to be authorized to work in the asbestos removal industry. Many of the recipients were illegal aliens who wished to skip the four-day course so that they would not forego pay.

ECT’s training course records were subject to inspection and Deleon sought to cover up ECT’s practice of issuing certificates to untrained applicants by having the applicants sign final examination answer sheets that already had been completed and graded, which she maintained in ECT’s files. Evidence at trial proved that of the all the ECT training certificates issued, approximately 65 percent to 80 percent of the individuals had not taken the necessary training.

Most of these individuals who were not certified were employed by Methuen Staffing, Deleon’s temporary employment agency that specialized in asbestos demolition. She sent the employees to job sites throughout Massachusetts, including the Boston, Worcester and New Bedford-Fall River areas, as well as to New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut and beyond. Deleon paid most of the employees “under-the-table,” and did not withhold taxes. She reported to the Internal Revenue Service and her workers compensation insurance carriers only those employees that actually had taxes withheld, which enabled her to save more than $1 million in tax and insurance payments.

Deleon fled Massachusetts two days before she was scheduled to be sentenced on March 23, 2010. When she failed to appear at the sentencing hearing, United States District Judge Nathaniel Gorton issued a warrant for her arrest. Deleon became the first woman named to EPA’s fugitive list. The U.S. Marshals Service undertook a nationwide search for her, and once it determined that she had fled the country, the U.S. State Department submitted, on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a request to the Dominican government to arrest and extradite Deleon.

Agents with the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD) observed Deleon at a residence in Santa Domingo. Agents pulled over her vehicle after she left the residence. Upon her arrest, Deleon claimed she was Elba Henriquez Peña and was carrying a false identity card with her picture and her name. Upon furthering questioning, she admitted that she was Albania Deleon and was wanted in the United States. Deleon was transported to DNCD headquarters for booking and processing and will be held pending an extradition hearing.

Deleon faces an extradition hearing in the Dominican Republic. Upon her return to the United States, she will face up to five years imprisonment on each count, except for the mail fraud counts, which carry 20-year maximum sentences.

More information on EPA’s fugitives list: http://www.epa.gov/fugitives/index.html

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10/21/10 - Nearly $293 Million in Federal Funding Available for State, Local, and Tribal

Funding opportunities through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These grants can be used to support climate and energy initiatives, including energy efficiency, regional planning, and community education. For full eligibility and application details, please visit the links provided below. Information courtesy of the Tribal Pollution Prevention (P2) work group.

HUD Choice

Neighborhoods-$65 million
Applications due: October 26, 2010
Eligible entities: public housing authorities (PHAs), local governments, nonprofits, and for-profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity

HUD requests proposals for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative-Round 1. Choice Neighborhoods seeks to employ a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Core goals include but are not limited to: 1) transforming distressed public and assisted housing into energy-efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long term; 2) transforming neighborhoods of poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to well-functioning services, high-quality public schools, public transportation, and improved access to jobs. Planning and Implementation grants will be awarded. $65 million is expected to be available; up to 19 awards are anticipated. For more information, go to the Grants.gov Web site; refer to Sol# FR-5415-N-25.

EPA Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Energy Efficiency in Homes and Buildings Grants—$5.36 million

Applications due: October 27, 2010
Eligible entities: states, local governments, territories, Indian tribes, and possessions of the United States, including the District of Columbia, international organizations, public and private universities and colleges, hospitals, laboratories, and other public or private nonprofit institutions

The Climate Protection Partnerships Division at EPA seeks proposals from eligible entities to advance national, regional, state, and local energy efficiency programming by using market-based approaches to program design and delivery. Proposals must demonstrate the potential to create a sustainable change in the market for energy efficient products, services, and best practices. Proposed activities relevant to local governments include improving energy performance in the residential and commercial/government market through increased use of high-efficiency products, promoting combined heat and power as clean distributed generation in developing state and local energy and environmental strategies, and providing information and technical assistance at the state or regional level about policies and programs that have been effective in maximizing energy savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions within the utility sector. For more information, go to the EPA Web site.

HUD Indian Community Development Block Grant—$65 million
Applications due: October 27, 2010
Eligible entities: Indian tribes or tribal organizations on behalf of Indian tribes

HUD requests proposals for the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG). ICDBG supports the development of viable Indian and Alaska Native communities, including the creation of decent housing, suitable living environments, and economic opportunities, primarily for persons with low and moderate income. Funds may be used to improve housing stock, provide community facilities, improve infrastructure, and expand job opportunities. Areas of interest include but are not limited to energy efficiency/green development and lead-based paint evaluation and hazard control. Lead applicants must be Indian tribes or tribal organizations on behalf of Indian tribes. For more information, go to the Grants.gov Web site; refer to Sol# FR-5415-N-08.

EPA National Environmental Information Exchange—$10 million
Applications due: November 5, 2010
Eligible entities: states, territories, and Indian tribes

EPA requests proposals for the National Environmental Information Exchange Network Grant Program. This program supports the exchange of environmental data and collaborative work within the Exchange Network and may also be used to fund the standardization, exchange, and integration of geospatial information to address environmental, natural resource, and human health challenges. $10 million is expected to be available; up to 50 awards are anticipated. For more information, contact Ryan Humrighouse (humrighouse.ryan@epa.gov) or go to the Grants.gov Web site; refer to Sol# EPA-OEI-11-01.

HUD HOPE VI Revitalization Grants Program—$124 million
Applications due: November 22, 2010
Eligible entities: Public Housing Authorities

HUD requests proposals for the HOPE VI Revitalization Grants Program. HOPE VI Revitalization grants assist PHAs in areas including but not limited to improving the living environment for public housing residents of severely distressed public housing projects through the demolition, rehabilitation, reconfiguration, or replacement of obsolete public housing projects; and building sustainable communities. HUD encourages development that increases resource efficiency, promotes green development, reduces GHG emissions, and promotes healthy living environments for residents. Lead applicants must be PHAs that have severely distressed housing in their inventory. $124 million is expected to be available; up to five awards are anticipated. For more information, contact Leigh van Rij (leigh_e._van_rij@hud.gov) or go to the Grants.gov Web site; refer to Sol# FR-5415-N-07.

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative—$6.3 million
Applications due: December 22, 2010
Eligible entities: state governments, local governments, Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, and others

The USDA requests proposals for the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI). The RCDI supports organizational capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development in rural areas. Areas of interest include but are not limited to programs that support micro-enterprise and sustainable development, and programs that assist recipients in completing predevelopment requirements for housing, community facilities, or community and economic development projects by providing resources for professional services (e.g., architectural, engineering, or legal). For more information, including state contacts, go to the Grants.gov Web site.

USDA Solid Waste Management Grant Program—$3.5 million
Applications due: December 31, 2010
Eligible entities: Nonprofit organizations, public entities, federally or state recognized Indian tribes, and academic institutions

The objectives of the Solid Waste Management Grant Program are to reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources in rural areas and to improve planning and management of solid waste sites in rural areas. Funds may be used to evaluate current landfill conditions to determine threats to water resources in rural areas; provide technical assistance and/or training to enhance operator skills in the maintenance and operation of active landfills in rural areas; provide technical assistance and/or training to help associations reduce the solid waste stream; and provide technical assistance and/or training for operators of landfills in rural areas that are closed or will be closed in the near future with the development and implementation of closure plans, future land use plans, safety and maintenance planning, and closure scheduling within permit requirements. For more information, visit the USDA Solid Waste Management Grant Program Web site.

NOAA K-12 Environmental Literacy Grants—$8 million
Applications due: January 12, 2011
Eligible entities: institutions of higher education; other nonprofits; K-12 public and independent schools and school systems; and state, local, and Indian tribal governments in the United States

The U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requests proposals for Environmental Literacy Grants for Formal K-12 Education. This RFP will support K-12 education projects that advance inquiry-based Earth System Science learning and stewardship directly tied to the school curriculum, with a particular interest in increasing climate literacy. $8 million is expected to be available; up to 10 awards are anticipated. For more information, contact Carrie McDougall (oed.grants@noaa.gov) or go to the Grants.gov Web site; refer to Sol# NOAA-SEC-OED-2011-2002608.

EPA Upcoming Request for Applications for Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants Program—$4 million
Applications due: January 14, 2011
Eligible entities: local governments, Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, and others

EPA solicited comments through September 13, 2010, on the new FY2011 Grant Application Guidelines for this funding opportunity. EPA expects to release a request for applications (RFA) based on these revised application guidelines in October 2010, with an anticipated deadline for submission of applications in January 2011. The upcoming RFA will announce the availability of grants for helping eligible entities deliver environmental workforce development and job training programs focused on hazardous and solid waste management, assessment, and cleanup activities. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 13 environmental workforce development and job training cooperative agreements from this competitive opportunity. For more information, visit the EPA Web site or access the EPA's draft grant application guidelines (PDF) (32 pp, 172K, About PDF).

State and local officials interested in additional information about developing and implementing cost-effective climate and energy strategies that help further environmental goals and achieve public health and economic benefits may visit the EPA's State and Local Climate and Energy Program Web site.

DOE Tribal Energy Program
1617 Cole Blvd.
Golden, CO 80401
tribal@go.doe.gov

For more information on the Tribal Energy Program and our Guide to Tribal Energy Development, please visit our Web site.

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10/20/10 - EPA Tribal Conference Brings Tribal Environmental Leaders to San Francisco and Newly Appointed JoAnn Chase, Director, American Indian Environmental Office

EPA Tribal Conference Brings Tribal Environmental Leaders to San Francisco and Newly Appointed JoAnn Chase, Director, American Indian Environmental Office

SAN FRANCISCO - Today, over 500 tribal environmental leaders representing more than 100 tribal governments from Arizona, California and Nevada are meeting to discuss environmental challenges that tribes continue to face with the EPA officials in San Francisco.

“This conference, one of the largest gatherings of its kind, is a venue for tribal, state, and federal leaders and environmental professionals to share successes and apply that knowledge to the unique environmental issues facing Indian Country today,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity to discuss with tribal leaders how EPA can collaborate with tribes to address critical issues, such as climate change, safe drinking water, solid waste management, and air quality.”

Tribal Council Chair people in attendance include: Scott Cozart of the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, Lucille Campa of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, Virgil Moose of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, LaVonne Peck of the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, Luther Salgado of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, Ronnie Lupe of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, LeRoy Shingoitewa of The Hopi Tribe, Elizabeth Hansen of the Redwood Valley Rancheria, Juan Venegas of the Pit River Tribe and Kyle Self of the Greenville Rancheria.

Michelle DePass, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs, will attend accompanied by the newly appointed Director of the American Indian Environment Office, JoAnn Chase. Ms. Chase is Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Indian (also known as The Three Affiliated Tribes), born and raised on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. She joins EPA from the American Indian Community House in New York City where she served as Executive Director. Prior to her work at AICH, Ms. Chase served as the Executive Director for the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest national Indian organization. In addition, CalEPA Secretary Linda Adams, AZ Department of Environmental Quality Director Benjamin Grumbles, and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Director Colleen Cripps will also attend.

Tribal lands in the Pacific Southwest range from small allotments of a few acres to the Navajo Nation, the largest tribal territory in the country. More than 28% of these native homes are at or below the poverty level, over 21% lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation and open dumps continue to be a problem, with over 1,300 found on tribal lands.

This year, the EPA awarded more than $76 million in grants for environmental protection projects to tribes in California, Arizona and Nevada. Funding from the EPA will be used to develop tribal environmental programs, build water and sewage treatment systems, and implement air pollution control, solid waste management, watershed monitoring and restoration projects. Today, more than 130 of the 147 federally recognized Pacific Southwest tribes have an environmental program, up from just 15 a decade ago.

This year’s conference will cover many pressing topics, including climate change, mining impacts, solid waste management, air and water quality, and sustainable development. The conference builds off of the work funded in Indian Country by the agency. Since the passage of EPA’s Indian Policy in 1984, funding from EPA supports environmental capacity building, construction of drinking water and sanitation systems, monitoring and protection of air, lands, and watersheds, and other activities that protect and improve the health of tribal people and the environment in Indian Country.

For more information about the U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Tribal Program Office, please go to http://www.epa.gov/region9/tribal
For more information about the EPA/Tribal Conference, co-hosted by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, please go to http://www.soboba-nsn.gov/epa_conference/
Media Contact: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149, (perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov)

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10/6/10 - EPA Pesticide Database to Aid Consumers in Controlling Bed Bugs

WASHINGTON - With cases of bed bug infestations increasing, many people are turning to pesticides as a means of ridding their homes of the pest. To help people find an appropriate pesticide for use on bed bugs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a new database listing all pesticides registered for this purpose. The new search tool will let consumers choose an EPA-registered bed bug product that meets their needs and is safe if properly used according to label instructions.

"This new database will help Americans select a safe, EPA-approved pesticide to help rid their home of bed bugs," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "While this tool ensures a safer way of dealing with bed bugs, chemical pesticides are most effective when used properly and in conjunction with practical steps like reducing clutter, covering mattresses, vacuuming and other methods."

Pesticides are one of many tools that can be used in combating bed bug infestations. When used in a comprehensive approach that combines vigilance in monitoring, integrated pest management techniques, and other non-chemical control methods, registered pesticide products can help control a bed bug infestation.

There are more than 300 different products registered by EPA for use against bed bugs. When selecting a bed bug pesticide product, it is important to choose one that is appropriate for the situation, such as where the pesticide will be applied, and always follow the instructions on the pesticide’s label. This new product search will allow the consumer to find bed bug products by company, name, EPA registration number, active ingredient, and place of application.

Search the bed bug pesticides database: http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/productsearch

 Tips on preventing bed bug infestations: http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/

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10/4/10 EPA Issues Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy with the goal of increasing the sustainability of water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States. Communities across the country are facing challenges in making costly upgrades and repairs to their aging water infrastructure, which include sewer systems and treatment facilities. Making this infrastructure last longer while increasing its cost-effectiveness is essential to protecting human health and the environment, and maintaining safe drinking water and clean water bodies. The new policy is part of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's priority to protect America's waters.

“Through cost-effective, resource-efficient techniques - like green water infrastructure alternatives - this policy aims to make our communities more environmentally and economically sustainable,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “These smart investments in our water infrastructure, along with increased awareness of the importance of these investments, can keep our water cleaner and save Americans money.”

The policy emphasizes the need to build on existing efforts to promote sustainable water infrastructure. The policy also focuses on working with states and water systems to employ comprehensive planning processes that result in projects that are cost effective over their life cycle, resource efficient, and consistent with community sustainability goals. The policy encourages effective utility management practices to build and maintain the level of technical, financial, and managerial capacity necessary to ensure long-term sustainability. 

The policy represents a collaborative effort between EPA and its federal, state, and local partners. Working with these partners, EPA will develop guidance, provide technical assistance, and target federal, state and other relevant federal financial assistance in support of increasing the sustainability of America’s water infrastructure.

More information: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/Clean-Water-and-Drinking-Water-Infrastructure-Sustainability-Policy.cfm

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09/30/10 - EPA Releases New Edition of NPDES Permit Writers’ Manual

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a revised edition of the U.S. EPA NPDES Permit Writers' Manual, which provides a comprehensive overview of the basic framework of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program and serves as a principal training tool for new state and EPA permit writers.

First released in 1996, the revised NPDES Permit Writers’ Manual has been thoroughly reviewed and updated to reflect current policy and guidance, address changes to the NPDES program, and include discussions of new EPA program areas, such as the Stormwater Phase II Rule, concentrated animal feeding operations, cooling water intake structures [i.e., Clean Water Act Section 316(b)], pesticide applications, and vessel discharges.

The manual is available for download at http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pwmanual/

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9/8/10 - 18th Annual National Native American Law Enforcement Association Training Conference, September 14-16, 2010

18th Annual National Native American Law Enforcement Association Training Conference, September 14-16, 2010 Training on Environmental Crimes in Indian Country EPA invites you to attend an intensive, 3-day training on environmental and natural resources criminal enforcement at the 18th Annual National Native American Law Enforcement Association training conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The training session's goals are to: (1) strengthen tribal environmental law enforcement capabilities to better protect Indian country; (2) build stronger partnerships with tribes, states and other agencies; and (3) complement the Department of Justice's "Indian Country Initiative," which invests an additional $6 million for 30 new prosecutors and $22 million in grants for tribal police. EPA, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior are providing training instructors. For additional information, please contact, the Native American Law Enforcement Association: 202-204-3065 or online at http://www.nnalea.org/ Exit Disclaimer or EPA's Carolyn Dick Mayes at 202-564-4007 (email: Dick.Carolyn@epa.gov) or Hamilton Humes at 202-564-2835 (email: Humes.Hamilton@epa.gov).

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9/7/10 - Bed Bug Education/Outreach and Environmental Justice Grants-Request for Applications due October 18, 2010

The Office of Pesticide Programs, within EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), is soliciting applications for states and tribes to strengthen their ability to address bed bug infestations in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental harms and risks. The projects supported through these grants are designed to build broad, results-oriented partnerships for education and outreach programs to reduce bed bug infestations in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental risks. Awards are intended to support a diverse set of outreach and education projects, which are designed to be replicable in other communities facing similar challenges.

This announcement provides qualification and application requirements to those interested in submitting applications for fiscal year 2010. EPA anticipates that approximately $550,000 will be available under this announcement, depending on Agency funding levels and other applicable considerations. The federal portion for each assistance agreement is anticipated to range between $50,000 and $200,000. The number of awards to be made under this announcement will depend on individual costs, the availability of funds, and the quality of applications received. The project period of performance is limited to two years from the award date.

Eligible applicants include the 50 States, District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States, any agency or instrumentality of a state including state universities, and all federally recognized Indian tribal governments.

Applications must be submitted via Grants.gov on or before on or before 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Monday, October 18, 2010. For more information see http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/grants/proposals/2010-opp-bedbug-rfa.pdf (PDF) (29 pp, 190K, About PDF).

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EPA Region 6 and BIE Seminar on Environmental Management for Bureau-Wide Schools

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Indian Education will conduct a seminar titled “Environmental Management for Bureau-Wide Schools,” which focuses on children’s health in Bureau of Indian Education/Grant/Contract funded schools September 21-23, 2010, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Website: http://www.epa.gov/earth1r6/6dra/oejta/tribalaffairs/index.html

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9/22/10 - DOE Tribal Energy Program FY2010 Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) Program

Notice of Funding Availability Application Deadline: October 27, 2010

Funding Opportunity Number: FR-5415-N-08

Eligibility: Eligible applicants are Indian tribes or tribal organizations on behalf of Indian tribes.

Description: The purpose of the ICDBG program is the development of viable Indian and Alaska Native communities, including the creation of decent housing, suitable living environments, and economic opportunities, primarily for people with low and moderate income as defined in 24 CFR 1003.

For more information on the ICDBG program, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Web site.

For application posting and materials, see the Grants.gov Web site (see also attached program guidance).

Training on NOFA Requirements

August 30, 2010 at 10:00 am PST, live broadcast

Access the training at http://www.hud.gov/webcasts/index.cfm.

Contacts:

Information courtesy of HUD

DOE Tribal Energy Program
Golden Field Office
1617 Cole Blvd.
Golden, CO 80401
tribal@go.doe.gov

For more information on the Tribal Energy Program and our Tribal Energy Guide, visit our Web site.

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8/30/10 - Comment Period Extended for the Proposed Revised Total Coliform Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending by 30 days the public comment period for a proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation, the Revisions to the Total Coliform Rule (RTCR), which was published in the Federal Register on July 14, 2010. The comment period for the proposed RTCR now ends October 13, 2010.

The proposed RTCR applies to all public water systems and offers a meaningful opportunity for greater public health protection beyond the current Total Coliform Rule by requiring systems that have an indication of coliform contamination in the distribution system to assess the problem and take corrective action. This extended comment period will afford greater opportunity to all interested parties to review and submit comments on the proposal. Anyone seeking to submit comments must follow the procedures specified in the SUMMARY section of the proposal as published in the Federal Register notice (75 FR 40926).

To access the RTCR Proposed Rule Federal Register Notice go to EPA's website at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/tcr/regulation.cfm#tcr1989

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8/30/10 - EPA Announces Native American Youth Artwork Contest: “Help Fight Environmental Crime”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a poster artwork contest for Native American students aimed at protecting the environment by encouraging the reporting of possible environmental crimes through EPA’s tips and complaints website.

The contest, open to all middle and high school students who are members of a federally recognized tribe, is a chance for young people to draw their visions of environmental damage from their viewpoint. EPA will use the winning artwork on its website and on posters encouraging the reporting of environmental violations.

Special agents with EPA’s criminal enforcement program will present plaques to winning entrants at their schools, and will give a presentation on what it is like to be an EPA criminal investigator.

The artwork will be judged on creativity, originality and how well it depicts the message of environmental violations.  Entries must be received or postmarked by Oct. 8, 2010 to be considered. Winners will be announced in November.

Students should submit artwork to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Criminal Enforcement – “Help Fight Environmental Crime” Contest
Denver Federal Center, Bldg 25, Ent. E–2
P.O. Box 25227
Denver, CO  80225

More information on the contest: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/criminal/contest/tribal.html

EPA Tips & Complaints website: http://www.epa.gov/tips/

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8/17/10 - Administrator Jackson Announces EPA's International Priorities

Agency to work with other countries to curb pollution at home and abroad

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has announced the agency’s international priorities at a meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation she is attending in Guanajuato, Mexico. The international priorities echo Administrator Jackson’s priorities for EPA, which she announced earlier this year, and aim to promote citizen engagement, improve public health and increase government accountability on environmental enforcement.

“Pollution doesn’t stop at international borders, and neither can our environmental and health protections. The local and national environmental issues of the past are now global challenges,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This document sends a strong message to our partners in the international community that our challenges are shared challenges, and that we are eager to work together on solutions. Along with the seven EPA priorities I issued earlier this year, these six international priorities will guide our work during the months and years ahead.”

When EPA was established 40 years ago, Americans were concerned about lakes and rivers burning and air pollution in their own cities. In 2010, the environmental challenges are global, with pollutants from around the world ending up in America’s backyards. EPA is working collaboratively with our international partners to protect human health and our shared environment. 

EPA’s bilateral and multilateral partnerships have taken on new significance in the face of shared environmental and governance challenges, such as global climate change and improving children’s environmental health outcomes. The agency’s international priorities will guide EPA’s collaboration with CEC and all international partners.

The priorities include:

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation was created by the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The group of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican environmental leaders has gathered to discuss the commission’s strategic plan and establish priority projects for the next five years.  Founded in 1994, the commission is an innovative organization that recognizes and acts to mitigate the impacts of cross-border commerce on the environment. Since then, EPA’s cooperation with Mexico and other international partners has expanded to address the more complex role that environmental protection has played in ensuring our national security, facilitating global commerce, promoting sustainable development, and adapting to climate change.

More information on EPA’s international priorities: http://www.epa.gov/international/topsix.html

A transcript of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s speech

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Executive Order for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes

Executive Order for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes
The President has issued an Executive Order (EO) that establishes the nation's first comprehensive national policy for the stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. The EO adopts the final recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, and directs federal agencies to take steps to implement them. It also creates an interagency National Ocean Council to strengthen ocean governance, and provide sustained, high-level focus on the national priority objectives for action to advance the national policy.

"Protecting our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes is critical to the health of our communities, vibrancy of our economy and overall security of our nation," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "The new national policy provides a clear road map for all federal agencies to work together, with local partners, to protect our vital waters for future generations. EPA is proud to have played a role in the development of this plan and the continued protection of our treasured natural resources."

The EO, final recommendations, other key documents, and the full press release can found at the National Ocean Council website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans.

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Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program Effective October 1, 2010

EPA is announcing a voluntary Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program, effective October 1, 2010. The program will enable qualified drinking water operators at public water systems in Indian country to be recognized as certified operators by EPA. This program will provide the benefits of certification to both the public water system operators and the Tribal communities they serve. Through the training required to receive and maintain certification, operators learn how to supply drinking water that meets national standards and gain understanding of the associated public health benefits. Certification designates the water system operator as a public health professional and demonstrates the operator has the skills, knowledge, education and experience necessary to deliver safe water, supporting consumer confidence. You can access more information about the program by going to EPA's website at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/tribal.html, or by contacting the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

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EPA Announces $200,000 in Environmental Justice Grants to Support Communities Directly Affected by BP Oil Spill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting proposals for up to eight $25,000 cooperative agreements to support the protection of human health and the environment in communities affected by the BP oil spill. Local incorporated non-profit community-based organizations—including faith based organizations and those affiliated with religious institutions, environmental justice networks, and local Native American tribal governments—located and working in areas within affected states, are eligible to apply.

EPA developed the grant program after meeting with local organizations in the Gulf Region and learning that there was a need for technical assistance to support educational outreach to communities affected by the BP oil spill. The grants will provide funding to help develop educational materials on what seafood is safe to eat, what to do if exposed to oil, and how to address and adapt to the spill’s long-term effects. Providing grant funding directly to local organizations will help to ensure that information is distributed through trusted networks of communication and from organizations that will continue to support efforts to rebuild in the wake of disaster.

Organizations that are able to provide accurate and current information to a wide geographic area in the affected region are encouraged to apply by September 13, 2010.

To read the request for proposals and for information on how to apply: http://epa.gov/environmentaljustice/grants/bp-spill-grants.html

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Toxic Releases on Tribal Lands: Webinar Announcement

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a webinar September 8, 2010, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm ET, for tribal stakeholders on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The purpose of the webinar is to increase use and awareness in Indian Country and Alaska Native Villages of this publicly available tool tribes may use to identify sources of toxic chemical releases in their geographic areas.
To register for this free webinar go to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/518749217 Exit Disclaimer

After registering you will be given a phone number that can be used to listen to the webinar. If you plan to ask a question during the webinar, you will need to use the Go To Webinar Q&A feature and not the phone line. The phone line is for listening purposes only.

If you are hearing impaired, a written transcript will be available 1-2 weeks after the webinar. Additional materials, including frequently asked questions, individual PowerPoint presentations, and recorded webcast will also be available 2-3 weeks after the webinar. All materials will be posted to the Chemical Right to Know Web site Exit Disclaimer

For questions, please contact Beth Jackson (jackson.elizabeth@epa.gov) or Jennifer Major (jennifer.major@ross-assoc.com)

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EPA Releases Rulemaking Guidance on Environmental Justice

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing an interim guidance document to help agency staff incorporate environmental justice into the agency’s rulemaking process. The rulemaking guidance is an important and positive step toward meeting EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priority to work for environmental justice and protect the health and safety of communities who have been disproportionally impacted by pollution.

"Historically, the low-income and minority communities that carry the greatest environmental burdens haven't had a voice in our policy development or rulemaking. We want to expand the conversation to the places where EPA's work can make a real difference for health and the economy," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "This plan is part of my ongoing commitment to give all communities a seat at the decision-making table. Making environmental justice a consideration in our rulemaking changes both the perception and practice of how we work with overburdened communities, and opens this conversation up to new voices."

The document, Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action, seeks to advance environmental justice for low-income, minority and indigenous communities and tribal governments who have been historically underrepresented in the regulatory decision-making process. The guidance also outlines the multiple steps that every EPA program office can take to incorporate the needs of overburdened neighborhoods into the agency’s decision-making, scientific analysis, and rule development. EPA staff is encouraged to become familiar with environmental justice concepts and the many ways they should inform agency decision-making.

EPA is seeking public feedback on how to best implement and improve the guide for agency staff to further advance efforts toward environmental justice.

To view the interim guidance and submit feedback: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/policy/ej-rulemaking.html

More information on environmental justice: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/

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EPA Announces Public Information Meetings for the Proposed Revised Total Coliform Rule

EPA is holding four public information meetings to provide information on the proposed revisions to the Total Coliform Rule (TCR). The proposed revisions are contained in the proposed Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) which was published in the Federal Register on July 14, 2010. During the public meetings, EPA will discuss the major provisions of the current TCR, the history of the development of the proposed RTCR, the core elements of the proposed RTCR, the comparison between the current TCR and the proposed RTCR, and specific areas where EPA is requesting comment. Additional topics that will be discussed include the cost and benefit information of the proposed rule and the planned guidance manuals that will be developed to support the implementation of the final rule.

August 3, 2010, 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM, Eastern Time (EDT), the first public meeting will be held, at the EPA East Building, Room 1153, 1201 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460. To register, contact Cesar Cordero at (202)564-3716 or at cordero.cesar@epa.gov.

August 6, 2010, 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM, Central Time (CT), the second public meeting will be held, at the EPA Ralph Metcalfe Federal Bldg, 77 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604. On-site registration. On the day of the meeting, please bring an ID with you to get into the building. For more information about the meeting, please contact Sean Conley at conley.sean@epa.gov or at 202-564-1781. For visitors’ information about EPA Region 5, please visit http://www.epa.gov/region5/visitor/index.htm

August 20, 2010, 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM Pacific Time, EPA Region 9 Conference Rooms, 75 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, CA 94105
To register for the meeting, please contact Cesar Cordero at cordero.cesar@epa.gov or at 202-564-3716. On the day of the meeting, please bring an ID with you to get into the building. For more information about the meeting, please contact Sean Conley at conley.sean@epa.gov or at 202-564-1781. For visitors’ information about EPA Region 9, please visit http://www.epa.gov/region9/visitor.html.

For information about the proposed rule and the other public meetings, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/regulation_revisions.html

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United States Review of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Department of State has created a new website to enable public input during the U.S. review of its position on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. On April 20, 2010, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice announced at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that the United States has decided to review the U.S. position on the Declaration.

The Administration recognizes that, for many around the world, this Declaration provides a framework for addressing indigenous issues. During President Obama's first year in office, tribal leaders and interested non-governmental organizations (NGOs) encouraged the United States to reexamine its position on the Declaration - an important recommendation that directly complements our commitment to work together with the international community on the many challenges that indigenous peoples face.

As part of the U.S. government’s review, the U.S. Department of State, together with other Federal agencies, will be hosting consultations with federally-recognized tribes and dialogues with interested NGOs and other stakeholders. The consultation and meeting schedules will be listed on the website located at http://www.state.gov/s/tribalconsultation/declaration/index.htm. Tribal leaders, NGOs, and others are encouraged to contribute to the review by emailing us at Declaration@state.gov, or by submitting comments via mail to the Department of State at: S/SR Global Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street N.W., Suite 1317, Washington, D.C. 20520.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PDF) (12 pp, 230K, About PDF)

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EPA Seeks Public Comment on Strategic Plan to Move Forward on Agency Priorities: Draft plan will help advance Administrator Jackson’s seven priorities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on its draft FY 2011-2015 strategic plan, which helps advance Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priorities and the mission to protect human health and the environment. Administrator Jackson’s seven priorities are; taking action on climate change, improving air quality, protecting America’s waters, cleaning up our communities, assuring the safety of chemicals, expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice, and building strong state and tribal partnerships.

The draft plan identifies the measurable environmental and human health benefits the public can expect over the next five years and describes how EPA intends to achieve those results. The draft plan proposes five strategic goals and five cross-cutting fundamental strategies that aim to foster a renewed commitment to accountability, transparency and inclusion. The plan is prepared in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

The public comment period begins June 18 and closes July 30. EPA will use stakeholder feedback to prepare the final strategic plan, which will be released by September 30. Comments on the draft strategic plan may be submitted through http://www.regulations.gov. The Docket ID number is EPA-HQ-OA-0486.

For the first time, EPA is using a discussion forum to solicit ideas and feedback on the cross-cutting fundamental strategies, a new element of EPA’s strategic plan. The agency will use the feedback provided through https://blog.epa.gov/strategicplan as it implements the cross-cutting fundamental strategies and takes actions to change the way EPA does its work.

Information about the draft plan: http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/plan/plan.htm

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EPA Response to BP Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Since the British Petroleum Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 22, 2010, EPA has provided full support to the U.S. Coast Guard and is monitoring and responding to potential public health and environmental concerns. EPA continues to closely coordinate with other federal, state and local agencies as well. Environmental data, including air quality and water samples, will be posted and frequently updated on this site as it is collected and validated by EPA’s response teams along the impacted coastlines. This data is meant to determine potential risks to public health and the environment. http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/

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EPA Announces the New Office of International and Tribal Affairs
Action part of Administrator's priority to build strong tribal partnerships

In early 2009, Administrator Jackson met with the National Congress of American Indians and announced her intention to review the American Indian Environmental Office's (AIEO) placement in the EPA structure. After consultation with the National Tribal Caucus and EPA leadership in July 2009, she announced the restructuring that would move AIEO from the Office of Water to the Office of International Affairs, and rename the office to reflect the inclusion.

"Tribes and tribal lands face disproportionate environmental and public health concerns" said Michelle DePass, assistant administrator for the new OITA. "It is my honor to assume leadership of the American Indian Environmental Office - and I look forward to working with tribal communities as partners in overall efforts to address these pressing issues."

The President's 2011 budget request for the Agency includes a $41.4 million increase in tribal funding across the country, of which $30 million is targeted for new multi-media tribal grants. This new grant program will be tailored to address individual tribes' most serious environmental needs through the implementation of environmental programs, and will help tribes address their environmental priorities to the fullest extent possible. In addition, a 24 percent increase of $2.9 million is proposed to support new staff positions to oversee, provide guidance, and ensure accountability for the new grant program; an additional $8.5 million is provided for General Assistance Program grants which can be put towards programs and projects ranging from assistance for enforcement and compliance activities to education and job training, a 13 percent increase over final Fiscal Year 2010 budget levels.

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EPA Releases Handbook for Clean Water Act Section 319 Tribal Program

EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds recently released the Handbook for Developing and Managing Tribal Nonpoint Source Pollution Programs Under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. EPA developed the Handbook to support the continued growth and sophistication of Tribal participation in the Clean Water Act Section 319 program.
In the Handbook, all aspects of the grants funding process are clearly explained, demonstrating how Tribes can use Section 319 program funds to implement programs and projects to reduce pollution and restore water quality. It also provides a great deal of technical information regarding nonpoint source pollution; how to develop and assess available data to develop a plan of action; and how to implement activities to solve the problem. The Handbook is posted on the Tribal Nonpoint Source Web site at: www.epa.gov/nps/tribal/

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The 2010 National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities

The 2010 National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities (known formerly as the TRI National Training Conference) will be held November 1-4, 2010 in Washington, DC at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel Exit Disclaimer.

This year's conference expands on previous TRI National Training conferences to include sessions on sources of other environmental data and on conditions and trends in ecological and human health that collectively help to support environmental-related decision making in communities, as the new title suggests.

Please periodically check the Web site www.chemicalright2know.org Exit Disclaimer for more information on the conference including the new expanded scope, call for presentations, agenda, and registration information.

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EPA's Budget Proposal Aligned with Administrator Jackson's Key Priorities

WASHINGTON - The Obama Administration today proposed a budget of $10 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This budget heeds the president’s call to streamline and find efficiencies in the agency’s operations while supporting the seven priority areas EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson outlined to guide EPA’s work.

“To meet our environmental challenges and ensure fiscal responsibility, we’re proposing targeted investments in core priorities.  This budget cuts spending while promoting clean air, land and water, growing the green economy and strengthening enforcement,” said Administrator Jackson. ”The president’s budget is focused on creating the conditions that help American families, communities and small businesses thrive. Clean air, clear water and green jobs are rebuilding the foundations for prosperity in communities across the country.” more

Budget Highlights:

Cleaning up communities: This budget includes $1.3 billion to address Superfund sites that may be releasing harmful or toxic substances into the surrounding community. Cleaning up these sites improves communities’ health and allows for these properties to be used for economic development.

In addition, $215 million is provided to clean up abandoned or underused industrial and commercial sites that are available for alternative uses but where redevelopment may be complicated by the presence of environmental contaminants. Revitalizing these once productive properties, known as brownfields, helps communities by removing blight, satisfying the growing demand for land, and enabling economic development. EPA will focus its efforts on area-wide planning and cleanups, especially in under-served and economically disadvantaged communities.

This budget also offers $27 million for EPA’s new Healthy Communities Initiative. This initiative will address community water priorities; promote clean, green, and healthy schools; improve air toxics monitoring in at-risk communities; and encourage sustainability by helping to ensure that policies and spending at the national level do not adversely affect the environment and public health or disproportionally harm disadvantaged communities.

Improving Air Quality: In addition to the funding provided through the Healthy Communities Initiative, this budget includes $60 million to support state efforts to implement updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). EPA proposed stricter air quality standards for smog and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and will work with states to help them meet those standards in the years ahead.

Building Strong State and Tribal Partnerships: This budget includes $1.3 billion for state and tribal grants. State and local governments are working diligently to implement new and expanded requirements under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. New and expanded requirements include implementation of updated NAAQS and addressing emerging water quality issues such as nutrient pollution. In addition to the $25 million for greenhouse gas permitting and $60 million to support state efforts to implement updated NAAQS, the $1.3 billion for state and tribal grants includes $45 million for states to enhance their water enforcement and permitting programs. In order to help tribes move forward with implementation of environmental programs, $30 million is budgeted for a new competitive Tribal Multi-media Implementation grant program. To further enhance tribal environmental management capabilities, this budget also includes an additional $9 million for Tribal General Assistance Program grants.

Taking Action on Climate Change: This budget contains more than $43 million for additional efforts to address climate change and work toward a clean energy future. EPA will implement the greenhouse gas reporting rule; provide technical assistance to ensure that any permitting under the Clean Air Act will be manageable; perform regulatory work for the largest stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions; develop standards for mobile sources such as cars and trucks; and continue research of carbon capture and sequestration technologies.

Protecting America’s Waters: This budget broadens efforts to clean up America’s great waterbodies. It provides $63 million for efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and $17 million for the Mississippi River Basin to respond to non-point source control recommendations of the Nutrients Innovation Task Group and implement recommendations outlined in the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Action Plan.

This budget also invests $3.3 billion to maintain and improve outdated water infrastructure and keep our wastewater and drinking water clean and safe. This is in addition to $6 billion in funding provided to states through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Assuring the Safety of Chemicals: This budget calls for $56 million for chemical assessment and risk review to ensure that no unreasonable risks are posed by new or existing chemicals. This budget also invests $29 million (including $15 million in grants funding) in the continuing effort to eliminate childhood lead poisoning, and $6 million to support national efforts to mitigate exposure to high-risk legacy chemicals, such as mercury and asbestos.

Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice: This budget contains $8 million for environmental justice programs. It targets increased brownfields investments to under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and proposes $9 million for community water priorities in the Healthy Communities Initiative, funds that will help under-served communities restore urban waterways and address water quality challenges. EPA is committed to identifying and addressing the health and environmental burdens faced by communities disproportionately impacted by pollution. This commitment is fulfilled through the agency’s efforts to give people a voice in decisions that impact their lives and to integrate environmental justice in EPA programs, policies and activities.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/budget

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EPA Administrator Outlines Top Seven Priorities

Almost one year ago, I began my work as Administrator. It has been a deeply fulfilling 12 months and a wonderful homecoming for me. As our first year together draws to a close, we must now look to the tasks ahead. http://blog.epa.gov/administrator/2010/01/12/seven-priorities-for-epas-future/

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EPA National Tribal Caucus Executive Committee Annual Election

The EPA National Tribal Caucus held their fall meeting and annual elections November 16-19, 2009.
Here are the official results:

The National Tribal Caucus (NTC) is comprised of 19 tribal members of the Environmental Protection Agency's Tribal Operations Committee (TOC). This committee was formed in February 1993. The NTC works with EPA as co-regulators in identifying national environmental policies and issues for discussion and providing input on the manner in which EPA can improve program delivery and implementation. The NTC works on a regular basis with the EPA American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO). The NTC identifies issues to be placed on meeting agendas, and develops issue papers of concern to the Tribes.

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EPA Study Reveals Widespread Contamination of Fish in U.S. Lakes and Reservoirs

A new EPA study shows concentrations of toxic chemicals in fish tissue from lakes and reservoirs in nearly all 50 U.S. states. For the first time, EPA is able to estimate the percentage of lakes and reservoirs nationwide that have fish containing potentially harmful levels of chemicals such as mercury and PCBs.

"These results reinforce Administrator Jackson's strong call for revitalized protection of our nation’s waterways and long-overdue action to protect the American people," said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. "EPA is aggressively tackling the issues the report highlights. Before the results were even finalized, the agency initiated efforts to further reduce toxic mercury pollution and strengthen enforcement of the Clean Water Act – all part of a renewed effort to protect the nation’s health and environment."

The data showed mercury concentrations in game fish exceeding EPA’s recommended levels at 49 percent of lakes and reservoirs nationwide, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in game fish at levels of potential concern at 17 percent of lakes and reservoirs. These findings are based on a comprehensive national study using more data on levels of contamination in fish tissue than any previous study. Burning fossil fuels, primarily coal, accounts for nearly half of mercury air emissions caused by human activity in the U.S., and those emissions are a significant contributor to mercury in water bodies. From 1990 through 2005, emissions of mercury into the air decreased by 58 percent. EPA is committed to developing a new rule to substantially reduce mercury emissions from power plants, and the Obama Administration is actively supporting a new international agreement that will reduce mercury emissions worldwide.

The study also confirms the widespread occurrence of PCBs and dioxins in fish, illustrating the need for federal, state and local government to continue efforts to reduce the presence of these harmful chemicals in our lakes and reservoirs and ensure that fish advisory information is readily available. It is important that women of child-bearing age and children continue to follow the advice of EPA and the Food and Drug Administration on fish consumption as it relates to mercury. This study is also a strong message to state and local governments to redouble their efforts in looking for opportunities to reduce mercury discharges, as well as developing fish advisories, especially to reach those in sensitive and vulnerable populations.

Results from the four-year National Study of Chemical Residues in Lake Fish Tissue show that mercury and PCBs are widely distributed in U.S. lakes and reservoirs. Mercury and PCBs were detected in all of the fish samples collected from the nationally representative sample of 500 lakes and reservoirs in the study. Because these findings apply to fish caught in lakes and reservoirs, it is particularly important for recreational and subsistence fishers to follow their state and local fish advisories.

EPA is conducting other statistically based national aquatic surveys that include assessment of fish contamination, such as the National Rivers and Streams Assessment and the National Coastal Assessment. Sampling for the National Rivers and Streams Assessment is underway, and results from this two-year study are expected to be available in 2011. Collection of fish samples for the National Coastal Assessment will begin in 2010.

More information:

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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Related Websites

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The Recovery Act seeks in part to spur technological advances in science and health and to invest in environmental protection and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits. EPA manages over $7 billion in projects and programs that will help achieve these goals, offers resources to help other agencies "green" a much larger set of Recovery investments, and administers environmental laws that will govern Recovery activities.

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