EPA awards over $32 million for tribal environmental programs in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest
SEATTLE (December 15, 2021) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has recently awarded over $32 million in Indian Environmental General Assistance Program grants for 257 tribes and tribal consortia in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
“Tribes are on the front lines of protecting public health and the environment in our region,” said Michelle Pirzadeh, EPA Region 10 Acting Regional Administrator. “EPA’s grant funds are critical to helping tribes sustain and grow their environmental programs and protect their communities and natural resources for current and future generations.”
Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (GAP) funding helps tribes develop environmental protection programs and make informed decisions about issues that impact the health of tribal members and the quality of their environment. Tribes use GAP grants to develop environmental plans and set priorities, seek technical assistance, conduct research, and provide outreach and education – the building blocks for successful environmental programs.
GAP grants have helped tribes in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest plan, develop and establish core environmental protection programs. GAP grants have also helped tribes plan for climate change impacts, develop solid waste management plans, and educate and engage local communities in addressing priority environmental projects.
Examples of this work include:
- With GAP and other federal funding, Chugach Regional Resources Commission and their Alutiiq Pride Marine Institute are working with tribes in Southcentral Alaska to conduct outreach, provide training, and collect baseline data on ocean water quality, harmful algal blooms, and climate change. Their work is highlighted in an educational video: Community Sampling for Ocean Acidification in South Central Alaska.
- GAP funds were instrumental this summer to the Shoshone Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation, which provided timely air quality information as wildfire smoke from California and Oregon drifted towards Idaho. The Tribes disseminate air quality alerts, information on building DIY box fan air filters for healthier indoor air during wildfire smoke events, and other critical information for the Fort Hall community.
- EPA Performance Partnership Grants that include GAP funds, supported the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians in Oregon to receive EPA approval to administer the Clean Water Act’s water quality standards and certification program. The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington also used the funding to prepare an application for treatment in a similar manner as a state under the Clean Water Act. These approvals will enable these tribes to develop their own water quality goals and standards.
EPA is now inviting proposals from eligible tribes and tribal consortia located in Region 10 for 2023 funding. Details about the application process are available on the EPA Region 10 Tribal Environmental GAP Funding website.
For more information about EPA’s work with tribes in Region 10, check out EPA’s Tribal Programs in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska website. More information about EPA’s GAP program is available on EPA’s Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (GAP) website.
EPA’s Region 10 serves communities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 271 tribal nations. Learn more about EPA’s work in the Pacific Northwest at: epa.gov/epa-region-10-pacific-northwest. Connect with us on Twitter: @EPAnorthwest and Facebook: @eparegion10.