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Investing in the Heartland: Working Together to Protect Public Health and the Environment

06/16/2020
Contact Information: 
Ashley Murdie (murdie.ashley@epa.gov)
913-551-7785

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EPA At 50(Lenexa, Kan., June 16, 2020) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 team, headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, has continued investing in the Heartland to protect public health and the environment this year. The Region 7 team took time this week to share some recent investments and partnership accomplishments, as part of the Agency’s celebration of its 50th anniversary this year.

“It is important to take a moment to reflect on the Agency’s investment in state, local, tribal and international environmental programs, people and infrastructure. This investment has had lasting impacts on the state of our environment, resulting in cleaner air, water and land in the United States and across the globe,” said EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento.

“When it comes to environmental stewardship, we’re most successful when federal, state, tribal and community partners work together to meet the mission of cleaner air, land and water,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Only together can we can best identify solutions that protect public health and our environment for generations to come.”

Investments and Partnerships Resulting in Tangible Outcomes in the Heartland:

  • In EPA Region 7, regional staff support nine tribal partners by providing consultation opportunities on major rulemaking, permitting, and policy changes. EPA Region 7 also maintains a strong working partnership with Haskell Indian Nations University, the premier tribal university in the United States, working with their faculty and students to promote environmental protection.
  • EPA was one of the first federal agencies to recognize tribal government-to-government relationships in our day-to-day work, with the adoption of the EPA 1984 Indian Policy and the establishment of the American Indian Environmental Office and an EPA-Tribal Governments advisory body in 1994.
  • This year, EPA is providing $1.1 million for tribes in Region 7 and $65 million to more than 500 tribes nationwide for building their environmental programs in Indian country.
  • EPA Region 7 distributed more than $213 million in State and Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) funding to states, territories and tribes in the last year to support their environmental programs.
  • EPA Region 7 hosted a roundtable event to bring together leadership from EPA Regions 5 and 7 to hear individual, real-world input from renewable fuels representatives from across the Midwest to better inform EPA’s regional environmental protection programs. EPA’s Smart Sectors program provides a platform to collaborate with regulated sectors and develop sensible approaches that better protect the environment and public health.
  • EPA Region 7 awarded $120,000 in Environmental Justice (EJ) grants designed to educate, empower and enable the communities of Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis; and Lyons, Nebraska, and to better understand and address local health and environmental issues. EPA’s EJ program coordinates with multiple partners, such as federal, state, tribal and local governments, business and industry, nonprofits and academia, to help improve environmental and public health conditions of disproportionately impacted low-income and/or minority communities. To help address and prevent lead poisoning, EPA Region 7’s EJ program also continues to collaborate with local health departments and community organizations, such as the Black Health Care Coalition, Wyandotte County Healthy Environments Coalition, Bartlett Center, Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, and NAACP chapters across the region.
  • EPA Region 7 and EPA’s Office of Community Revitalization have been working to help the city of St. Louis and other local stakeholders take advantage of Opportunity Zones through a series of webinars focused on attracting local investment and redevelopment along the Martin Luther King corridor in north St. Louis. EPA’s Community Revitalization program provides a variety of technical assistance programs that include helping communities boost economic opportunities for their local farmers (Local Foods, Local Places); helping communities to revitalize their economy through outdoor recreation (Recreational Economy); and implementing strategies for community resilience (Building Blocks).
  • Two new members of the Agency’s Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) are from Region 7 states: Bill McMurray, mayor of St. Joseph, Missouri; and Ella M. Jones, city council member and mayor elect of Ferguson, Missouri.

EPA recognizes the value of partnerships in fulfilling our mission to protect human health and the environment. For more on EPA’s 50th Anniversary and how the Agency is protecting America’s air, water and land, visit: www.epa.gov/50.

Follow EPA’s 50th Anniversary celebration on social media using #EPAat50.

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