EPA NEWS: EPA Announces Action Plan To Address Water-Related Challenges In Indian Country

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dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

News Releases from Headquarters > International and Tribal Affairs (OITA), Headquarters > Water (OW)

October 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an action plan to strengthen the agency’s partnership with Tribes and Alaska Native Villages on water issues. This plan will address critical issues and provide water protections that support Indian Country’s cultural activities, subsistence practices, and public health.

“Pursuant to the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to upholding the federal trust responsibility, EPA has developed an action plan that outlines the steps it is taking to deliver on this commitment by supporting Tribal nations as they protect and steward their waters,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of International and Tribal Affairs Jane Nishida.

“Under this plan, the Office of Water intends to play a significant role in delivering on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Tribal nations.” said Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “This plan gives EPA a framework to better understand and identify the best tools to help Tribal nations to protect and steward water resources.” We will seek out additional funding for Tribal infrastructure, advance water programs with distinct and measurable Tribal benefits, and partner with Tribal nations to enhance their capacity to protect and steward water resources.”

Long-standing water challenges are negatively impacting Tribes and Alaska Native Villages, which are more likely than other populations in the United States to lack access to piped drinking water and essential wastewater services. The action plan, Strengthening The Nation-To-Nation Relationship With Tribes To Secure A Sustainable Water Future, will help address these challenges by:

Promoting robust coordination and meaningful consultation with Tribal nations.
Strengthening and expanding water governance in Indian country.
Increasing infrastructure funding and capacity development.
Honoring the federal trust responsibility and protecting Tribal reserved rights related to water resources.

“EPA’s Office of Water plan encompasses many of the National Tribal Water Council’s priorities,” said NTWC Chairman Ken Norton. “We recognize that Tribal communities need safe drinking water, basic sanitation and CWA protections. We all work together to make this happen.” This plan details specific actions that can immediately be taken and continued over the next three-years to improve health and well being of Tribal communities throughout the country.

To view the Tribal action plan and learn more about EPA’s National Tribal Water Program, go to: https://www.epa.gov/tribalwater.

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