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Message from OITA Assistant Administrator, Chad McIntosh, to Tribal Leaders and Tribal Environmental Director's regarding COVID-19

March 20, 2020

Dear Tribal Leaders and Tribal Environmental Directors:

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented situation in communities around the world. We are reaching out to you on behalf of President Trump and Administrator Wheeler to convey that EPA is continuing to carry out our mission of protecting human health and the environment. Much of our workforce is working from home, in accordance with local and federal guidelines. However, EPA employees are equipped with the technology needed to continue operations during this time as if they were in the office.

We are actively working across our regional and program offices to identify any operational challenges and address them as efficiently as possible. If there are essential services for which EPA can provide support, please do not hesitate to reach out to your normal point of contact in your EPA Regional Office. For specific points of contact in EPA’s tribal program, please visit https://www.epa.gov/tribal/tribal-program-managers. EPA’s American Indian Environmental Office also stands ready to facilitate communications and information sharing regarding tribal concerns and agency response actions. Please feel free to contact the AIEO Office Director, Scott Mason, at mason.scott@epa.gov.

Many of you have raised concerns about disruptions to environmental program implementation, and questions about deadlines and other timelines related to your work with EPA. For example, many tribal environmental programs are actively negotiating their GAP grant workplans. We are working to provide information as soon as possible and will offer flexibility wherever we can. Please continue to share questions and information with your EPA Regional Office point of contact; we will share updates as the situation unfolds.

We want to emphasize that the health and wellbeing of you and your tribal members is the most important thing right now. This is a time to work together. Stay safe and contact EPA with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

W. C. McIntosh                                                                                            W. Scott Mason
Assistant Administrator                                                                          Director
International and Tribal Affairs                                                           American Indian Environmental Office
Environmental Protection Agency                                                     Environmental Protection Agency
McIntosh.Chad@epa.gov                                                                       Mason.Scott@epa.gov