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$32 Million in EPA funds help Northwest and Alaska tribes protect communities' health, water, air and natural resources

Release Date: 01/14/2016
Contact Information: Mahri Lowinger, Tribal Coordinator, lowinger.mahri@epa.gov, 907-271-6334 and Judy Smith, Public Affairs Specialist, smith.judy@epa.gov, 503-326-6994

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $32 million in funding for the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (GAP) capacity building grants to tribes and tribal consortia in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

The funding helps tribes develop environmental protection programs and make informed decisions about issues that impact the health of their people and the quality of their environment. Since its inception, the EPA’s GAP program has played a critical role in achieving environmental progress and facilitating government-to-government relationships between tribes and the EPA.

David Allnutt, Director of the EPA Region 10 Office of Ecosystems, Tribal and Public Affairs said, “The Indian Environmental General Assistance Program empowers tribes to build the capacity to support successful environmental programs that protect public health and their lands. The GAP program is vitally important in this region because about half of the federally recognized tribes in the nation are in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.”

Tribes and tribal consortia in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest use the funding for a wide variety of projects including the development of sustainable solid waste management programs, practices to prevent open dumping, documenting climate change, emergency response planning, watershed protection, understanding air quality issues, and to address other environmental challenges. Tribes also use GAP funding for staff development, creating environmental plans, seeking technical assistance, and community outreach and education – the building blocks of successful environmental programs.


More information about the noteworthy results achieved with GAP funding in six tribal communities is available online at: http://www.epa.gov/tribal/region-10-tribal-environmental-gap-success-stories.

    Akiak Native Community, Alaska: community recycling and hazardous waste collection and disposal
    Chalkyitsik Village Council, Alaska: recycling appliances, batteries, electronics and other hazardous materials
    Koyukuk Native Village, Alaska: cleaning up a landfill with a burn unit
    Native Village of Tetlin, Alaska: using a burn unit and trash disposal cages to eliminate improper dumping
    Native Village of Kwigillingok, Alaska: establishing a tribally-enforced environmental code to educate residents and remove eyesores from the village
    The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Oregon: improving geographic information systems (GIS) to better track environmental projects and subsistence resources

In Region 10, 237 tribes and 21 tribal consortia received GAP grants for the current fiscal year. There are 566 federally-recognized tribes in the nation, 229 located in Alaska, 4 in Idaho, 9 in Oregon, and 29 in Washington.

The GAP program was created by Congress in 1992 to provide grants for federally recognized tribes to plan, develop, and establish core environmental protection programs. For more information on the GAP program and to read our success stories please visit:
http://www.epa.gov/tribal/region-10-tribal-program.