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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Announces $28 Million for Environmental Improvements on Tribal Lands in California

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced almost $28 million in funding for California tribes to support environmental programs, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and community education. The announcement was made at the 24th Annual Regional Tribal Conference in San Francisco.

“Tribes continue to make great strides in environmental protection and improving public health,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  “This year, EPA is supporting water quality projects and water infrastructure for California tribes with over $14 million in funding.”

Approximately $9 million was awarded directly to California tribes to support a wide variety of projects including monitoring, watershed protection and restoration, water and energy efficiency, wastewater reclamation, and treatment systems. Another $5.1 million will go to the Indian Health Service to support tribal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, plant operator training and technical assistance.

California tribes will use an additional $13.8 million to continue tribal environmental programs, clean up open dumps and contaminated lands, develop programs to monitor, protect, and improve air quality, and conduct targeted community outreach and community education.

Among the results of EPA funding:

  • This year the Quechan Tribe cleaned up two open dumps and collected more than 1,000 tires from its Reservation. 
  • The Yurok Tribe treated a surface drinking water source that was the cause of an E. coli outbreak in 2014.  The tribe’s Kenek Water Treatment Plant was at a high risk for running dry due to the drought.

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

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

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