Northwest Tribal Wetlands, Recycling Projects Benefit from $31.8 Million EPA Grants

The Coeur d'Alene and other Northwest tribes have been awarded a total of $31.8 million from the Environmental Protection Agency.
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The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is among several in the Northwest receiving a portion of $31.8 million in grants announced recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

The tribe said it will devote the bulk of its $165,000 grant to wetlands planning and recycling programs, according to a statement.

"The funds have been used for energy efficiency programs, recycling programs and have been used to help us write grants for projects such as wetlands planning and household hazardous waste," said tribal spokeswoman Heather Keen in the statement. "We're pleased and grateful to receive the funding."

The funds are from the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (GAP) and consist of “capacity building grants” being awarded to tribes and groups in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the EPA said.

Projects will include cleanup of community and open dumps, documenting climate change, emergency response planning, identifying invasive species, recycling, watershed protection, youth environmental education, and research and education on mining impacts, the EPA said. GAP funds also go toward training and staff development, seeking technical assistance, creating environmental plans, leveraging resources from and developing partnerships with other entities, and community outreach and education, the agency said.

“Almost half—271—of the federally recognized tribes in the nation are in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest,” said David Allnutt, Director of the EPA Region 10 Office of Ecosystems, Tribes and Public Affairs, which made the announcement on November 7. “The Indian Environmental General Assistance Program is absolutely critical for these tribes to build their capacity and develop programs to protect public health and the environment on their lands.”

These funds are routine grants, the EPA has said. Last month the agency gave a total of $43 million to Southwest tribes, many of which are suffering from the effects of ongoing drought.

RELATED: EPA Grants to Drought-Stricken Southwest Tribes Total $43 Million