Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Region 9 Strategic Plan, 2011-14
Geographic Area of Focus: Navajo Nations
The Navajo Nation is the largest reservation in the country, with nearly 200,000 people living on more than 17.6 million acres – a land base the size of West Virginia. Forty-two percent of the residents live below the poverty line, with nearly 50% unemployment. Many live in remote areas that lack access to power, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure; more than 30% of the households on the Nation lack access to safe drinking water. In addition, the legacy of uranium mining continues to affect residents, including impacts from the mines themselves, contaminated landscapes, and homes constructed from contaminated materials. The Nation’s environmental program has more than 60 staff, who focus their efforts on protecting the water, air, and land, including four programs delegated by the federal government.
Region 9 will help develop and support government-wide strategies to improve the Navajo Nation’s environment, public health, and economy.
- During 2012, complete a renewable energy pre-feasibility evaluation for a reclaimed mine site and provide it to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, the utility for the Navajo Nation.
Work with the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, and other federal and state agencies to fully implement the multi-agency Five-year Plan to address the most urgent risks posed by more than 500 abandoned uranium mines.
- Provide grants to fund Navajo Superfund Program, Drinking Water Program, Public Outreach, and Department of Justice to work with EPA to implement the Five-year Plan.
- With the Navajo Superfund Program, assess at least 100 additional structures for uranium contamination in 2012.
- Clean up, remove, or replace 12 contaminated structures in 2012.
- Work with Navajo Department of Water Resources to implement an EPA-funded ($2.6 million) water hauling program that will serve 3,000 families impacted by uranium in drinking water during 2011-2012.
- Complete the last round of 145 site screens of abandoned uranium mine sites, resulting in site screens of all 520 abandoned uranium mines to be completed by the end of 2012.
- Starting in 2012, begin to implement the cleanup plan for the Northeast Churchrock Mine, the largest abandoned uranium mine on the Navajo Nation.
Develop and implement government-wide strategies to reduce the number of homes lacking safe drinking water and wastewater.
- Initiate construction in 2011-2012 of $22.5 million of federally funded infrastructure projects to provide access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation for over 400 homes. These improvements will start addressing the $213 million total need for full access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation on the Navajo Nation as identified by the Indian Health Service in its 2010 annual report to Congress.