Tribal conference brings environmental leaders to Tucson

Oct. 21, 2009
TUCSON, AZ, Oct. 21, 2009 -- More than 400 tribal environmental leaders are meeting with the EPA in Tucson, Ariz., to recognize tribal accomplishments and to discuss environmental challenges that tribes continue to face...

• 25th Anniversary of EPA's Indian Policy celebrated

TUCSON, AZ, Oct. 21, 2009 -- Today, more than 400 tribal environmental leaders representing more than 100 tribal governments from Arizona, California and Nevada are meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency in Tucson, Ariz., to recognize tribal accomplishments and to discuss environmental challenges that tribes continue to face.

This year's conference will cover many pressing topics, including climate change, mining impacts, solid waste management, air and water quality, and sustainability.

"This conference is an opportunity for tribal, state, and federal leaders and environmental professionals to discuss the unique challenges facing tribes and applaud the innovative ways tribes tackle environmental issues," said Laura Yoshii, the EPA's acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "This year marks the 25th anniversary of the EPA's Indian Policy, and we all recognize the significant milestones achieved through working in partnership with tribes."

Over the past 25 years the tribal-EPA partnership made possible by the 1984 Indian Policy has led to results, small and large, throughout the country. In the Pacific Southwest:

• More than 20,000 tribal households have been provided with safe drinking water and sanitation services;
• 500 open dumps affecting Indian Country have been cleaned up and closed;
• 125 tribes and 4 intertribal consortia carry out environmental programs using EPA funds;
• 86 tribes conduct ongoing monitoring of air, water and other natural resources.

This year, the EPA awarded more than $76 million in grants for environmental protection projects to tribes in California, Arizona and Nevada -- nearly 40 percent of which is American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Funding from the EPA and the Recovery Act will be used to develop tribal environmental programs, build water and sewage treatment systems, and implement air pollution control, solid waste management, watershed monitoring and restoration projects. Tribes in California, Arizona and Nevada received, respectively, grants of $27 million, $36 million, and $6.15 million to fund environmental projects in the upcoming fiscal year.

There are more than 50 Recovery Act projects on tribal lands in the Pacific Southwest, including:

• California's Tule River Indian Reservation will spend $6,371,470 to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant serving 268 homes.
• The Navajo Nation received $9.8 million to fund 30 wastewater projects that range from septic tank and drainfield upgrades and renovations to restoration and repairs at several wastewater treatment facilities located within the nation that serve 4,577 homes. Funds will also be used to launch the first phase of a drinking water line extension project. More than 20 percent of the Navajo Recovery Act projects will fund "green" decentralized wastewater systems.
• The Hopi Tribe received $1,353,530 for six wastewater and drinking water projects serving 484 homes.
• The Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona received $1,929,010 for five wastewater and drinking water projects serving 497 homes.
• The Yerington Paiute Tribeof Nevadareceived $156,300to upgrade its drinking water system serving 71 homes.
• California's Redding Rancheria received $180,070 to expand sewer connections serving 13 homes.

For more information about the U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Tribal Program Office, please go to