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EPA awards $300K to Montana Indian Country Environmental Protection Project

Release Date: 11/29/2006
Contact Information: Michael Wenstrom, 303-312-7009, wenstrom.michael@epa.gov; Nancy Reish, 303-312-6040, reish.nancy@epa.gov

{11/28/2006 -- Denver, Colo.} To continue environmental progress at the community level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $299,974 Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) grant to the Montana Indian Country CARE Project (MICCP). The project will be led by the Rocky Mountain College Department for American Indian Affairs.


    The MICCP will create and coordinate the collaboration of four tribal colleges with four different tribal reservation communities. The project will educate reservation communities about everyday toxic exposures and help them reduce and mitigate those exposures. The priority environmental issues identified by this project are toxic contamination from methamphetamine labs, drinking water contamination, indoor and outdoor air quality, mold, household chemical use and disposal, pesticide use and solid and hazardous waste.

    The EPA grant will help the program get experience dealing with the unique toxics issues faced by tribal communities while providing real environmental benefits to the people of Montana.

    The types of projects that are likely to be funded by the grant to MICCP are:
      --Providing information to families on adequate ventilation, moisture control, proper storage and disposal of hazardous wastes to community members to help them reduce toxics in their own homes.
      --Inventory of toxic exposure sources for tribal communities as a knowledge base for tribal planning and education campaigns.
      --Develop culturally sensitive messages that communicate toxic exposure in Indian Country and disseminate information to community members about what constitutes a toxic exposure and common toxics found in homes and Indian lands.
      --Inform and promote toxic reduction strategies in a majority of Tribal schools to improve the health of students and teachers.

    “CARE is collaboration in action,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “By uniting and working together, we can set priorities and address important environmental and public health issues.”

    EPA awarded a total of $2.7 million in CARE grants to 17 communities across the country. The CARE Program is a community-based, community-driven program that builds partnerships to help communities understand and reduce toxic risks from numerous sources. Award recipients will address a wide variety of environmental health issues in both rural and urban areas.

    There are two types of CARE cooperative agreements. The smaller Level I cooperative agreements are approximately $90,000 each and will help communities organize and create collaborative partnerships dedicated to reducing toxics in their local environments. Level II awards are larger – approximately $275,000 – and are designed to support communities that have already established broad-based partnerships and have identified the priority toxic risks in the community. Level II communities are further along in the CARE process and are prepared to measure results, implement the risk reduction activities, and become self-sustaining.

    More information about CARE and the cooperative agreements is available at: http://www.epa.gov/care