On January 11, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of Kansas State University (KSU) to receive approximately $2 million in funding over the course of five years to provide technical support to tribes addressing environmentally contaminated land. The university will help tribes with technical support around cleaning up these lands, known as brownfields.
“Tribes have unique needs in revitalizing contaminated lands for productive reuses,” said Mathy Stanislaus, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management. “Kansas State University will offer tribes substantive technical assistance as they work to clean up and revitalize lands in a manner they determine is consistent with their culture and governance.”
KSU will help tribes across the country identify solutions on assessing and cleaning up brownfields, developing reuse plans, and financing options. They will also help tribes develop peer networks to share ideas about brownfields issues. With KSU’s help, tribes will build tribal response programs to develop integrated approaches to brownfield cleanup and reuse, considering the links between environmental, economic, cultural, and social issues.
There are 566 federally recognized tribes within the United States. Each tribe is an independent, sovereign nation, responsible for setting standards, making environmental policy and managing environmental programs for its people. While each tribe faces unique challenges, many share similar environmental legacies.
EPA and tribes have been working together to clean up brownfields for more than a decade, and the partnership is making a difference:
- In Fiscal Year 2016, EPA allocated than $12 million dollars to 107 tribes for their tribal response programs.
- More than 700 properties are enrolled in tribal response programs.
- More than 455 properties are cleanup-final, with required institutional controls in place.
- More than 3,800 acres on tribal lands are ready for reuse.
Photo credit: Southern Ute Tribe.
For more information on brownfields.
More information on EPA brownfields grants.
More information on state and tribal response programs.
More information on environmental protection in Indian Country.