EPA Announces Historic Agreement with Seven Mid-Atlantic Federally Recognized Indian Tribes
PHILADELPHIA (Dec. 15, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a historic charter today with seven Mid-Atlantic Federally Recognized Indian Tribes at the inaugural Regional Tribal Operations Committee (RTOC) virtual meeting. The RTOC is a tribal and EPA partnership formed to assist in improving environmental conditions and tribal health.
Representatives from all the Virginia-based tribes were present: The Chickahominy Indian Tribe, The Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division, The Monacan Indian Nation, The Nansemond Indian Nation, The Pamunkey Indian Tribe, The Rappahannock Tribe and The Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe.
“Thanks to the RTOC formation, Tribes within Region 3 will now be represented on the national level, said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “For the first time in EPA history, all 10 Regions will be represented. Today’s meeting further shows our agency’s commitment to preserving this sacred land and educating others about its importance.”
At today’s virtual meeting, Dana Adkins, Environmental Director, of the Chickahominy Indian Tribe was elected Chairman of the Region 3 RTOC. Jessica Phillips of the Chickahominy Indian Tribe – Eastern Division was elected Vice Chairperson.
“I am honored to have been elected the first Chairperson of the Region 3 RTOC and look forward to collaborating with the other Region 3 Tribal Nations and the EPA on the important environmental matters that we all face,” said Adkins.
While today’s meeting is ceremonial in tone to mark the importance of the historic occasion, regular meetings will be held going further allowing the Tribes to bring any issues or concerns to the EPA in a unified voice and for the EPA to provide updates on any environmental developments. The RTOC formation is a testimony to the consistent communication and collaboration between EPA and the Tribes within Region 3.
The first scheduled meeting with members of the RTOC will be next month. Tribes will also participate in ongoing workshops offered by the EPA Mid-Atlantic Region to continue the groundwork started today and to foster this partnership.
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