President's Budget Proposal Provides Increased Environmental Protection For Tribal Nations
$41 million proposed increase from Fiscal Year 2010
SAN FRANCISCO - The Obama Administration this week proposed a budget of $10 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This budget heeds the president’s call to streamline and find efficiencies in the Agency’s operations while supporting the seven priority areas EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson outlined to guide EPA’s work. Increases in the proposed budget for tribal nations will be vital in helping EPA address a key priority -- building strong state and tribal partnerships.
“We are thrilled that President Obama and Administrator Jackson proposed an increase in EPA’s financial support for tribes in FY2011,” said Michelle DePass, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of International Affairs (who, upon completion of an internal reorganization, will include EPA’s American Indian Environmental Office under her leadership). “We are excited to work with the regional offices to ensure that these funds are used to help develop and implement vital environmental and public health projects on tribal lands.”
In fiscal year 2011, EPA is requesting an increase in support to tribal programs to address critical needs in assessing environmental conditions on tribal lands and building environmental programs tailored to tribal needs, as well as a new multi-media grant program to support implementation of high priority programs.
The President’s budget includes a $41.4 million increase in tribal funding across the nation, of which $30 million is targeted for the new multi-media grants to tribes to move beyond capacity building to implementation of Federal environmental programs. A 24% increase of $2.9 million is proposed to support new EPA positions to oversee, provide guidance, and ensure accountability to the new grant program, and an additional $8.5 million is provided for General Assistance Program grants, a 13% increase over final FY10 levels.
In the Pacific Southwest, EPA is committed to protecting the health and environment of 147 federally recognized tribes, as well as a tribal land base of over 27 million acres.
“More than 20 percent of tribal homes in the Pacific Southwest lack access to safe, piped drinking water, compared to one percent of non-native homes,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator for U.S. EPA in the Pacific Southwest. “More than 1,300 open dumps can still be found on tribal lands in the Pacific Southwest region, and more than one-third of tribal lands in the region are in areas that do not meet air quality standards.”
EPA is actively working in partnership with tribal governments in the Pacific Southwest to provide clean drinking water, clean up open dumps, reduce air pollution, address the legacy of uranium mining, and involve tribal residents in finding solutions.
“While we have seen significant progress in addressing environmental issues in Indian Country, we will continue applying our resources to empower tribal governments to take action to protect the environment and public health,” added Blumenfeld.
In the Pacific Southwest, EPA participated this week in the Regional Tribal Operations Committee at Susanville Indian Rancheria. For more info please visit:http://www.epa.gov/region09/tribal/rtoc