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Region 1: EPA New England

Tribal Environmental Programs and Accomplishments

Tribal News

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Penobscot Nation officials are celebrating the recent acquisition of four new hybrid technology vehicles purchased with federal grants. On Thursday, Chief Kirk Francis said the purchase of three gas-and-electric Toyota Highlanders and a Toyota Camry not only will save money on fuel but also reflects the tribe's commitment to environmental protection.

"Obviously, this is very important to us as historic stewards of the land," Francis said. "We are trying to reduce our carbon footprint and to be leaders … in the transition to green technology."

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Two of the Highlanders and the Camry, all silver in color, are emblazoned with the logo of the tribe's public safety department and will be used for police business. Police Chief Robert Bryant said he expects to reduce the department's fuel costs by as much as 75 percent as a result of the vehicles' estimated 40-mile-per-gallon efficiency.

"They run on battery below 25 miles an hour, and since the speed limit on the island is 20 miles an hour, they'll be using electricity most of the time," Bryant said. The vehicles' near-silent operation while in battery mode will also enable police to keep a low profile as they work, he noted.

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The third Highlander, which will be white with green lettering when it arrives from an area paint shop, is for the use of the tribe's air quality program. Program manager and vice chief of the tribe Bill Thompson said he makes frequent trips to the Carrabassett Valley area where the Penobscot Nation, along with other government agencies, has several air quality monitors in place. The vehicle's prominent identification as a hybrid will send a public message about the importance of investing in environmentally friendly technology, he said.

Francis, who chairs the executive committee of the Albuquerque, N.M.-based National Tribal Environmental Council, said the Penobscot Nation is deeply committed to environmental protection. The tribe has long endorsed sustainable forestry practices on tribal lands, supports alternative energy projects, and has constructed a number of housing units certified by the national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED, he said.

Penobscot River Restoration Project Receives National Award (PDF) (1 pg, 898K, about PDF) Click icon for EPA disclaimer. 
The Penobscot River Restoration Project has been nationally recognized for its outstanding work to restore endangered wild Atlantic salmon and other native migratory sea-run fish while balancing the need for hydroelectric power on the river.

Native American History Month
Native American History Month will again be observed during the entire month of November with events to be announced in the early fall.

Wabanaki Traditional Cultural Lifeways Exposure Scenario
The Wabanaki traditional Cultural Lifeways Scenario project was a coordinated effort among the five federally recognized Tribal Nations in Maine and the EPA. It was produced under a special grant called a DITCA (Direct Implementation Tribal Cooperative Agreement) awarded to the Aroostook Band of Micmacs on behalf of the five tribal nations in Maine. This project has resulted in the development of the Wabanaki Cultural Lifeways Exposure Scenario report. View the full report (PDF) (104 pp, 2.1 MB, about PDF). As the report acknowledges, the Scenario does not represent a risk assessment, but provides an historical representation of the environmental contact, diet, and exposure pathways present in traditional culture lifeways of the Wabanaki peoples of Maine, and the findings of the report serve as an informational resource for consideration in the context of protecting water resources. The report was prepared for EPA in collaboration with the Maine tribal nations by Dr. Barbara Harper, DABT, AESE, inc. and Professor Darren Renco, PhD, Environmental Studies and Native American Studies, Dartmouth College, July 9th, 2009.

Capacity Development of the New England Tribal Environmental Program
The key to our success as a program is that our agenda is developed in close cooperation with the tribes, including daily communication on various subjects. Over the last ten years, support for the Regional Program has grown from $55 thousand to $3 million. Tribal program evolution was multimedia; GAP DW, CWA 104, PWSS, CWA 106, CWA 319, Lead, Radon, EJ, Air 103. (See chart for explanation of the acronyms).

Below is a chart depicting the Tribal Environmental Programs that the New England Tribes are developing for protection of human health and the environment.

Narragansett X X X X X 98
Mashantucket Pequot* X X
Penobscot Nation X X X X X X 99
Wampanoag Tribe X X X X X X X
Passamaquoddy Indian Township X X X X X X 99
Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point X X X X X X X X 99
Houlton Band of Maliseets X X X X X X X X 99
Mohegan Nation* X X X
Aroostook Band of Micmacs X X X X 98
Mashpee Wampanoag X X

* In CT. only the Mohegans Tribes do not accept federal funds for environmental programs due to the economy.

** Requires TAS treatment similar to a state.

Acronyms and Definitions

GAP: General Assistance Program
106: Clean Water Act; Water Quality
104B3: Wetlands
319: Non-Point Source Pollution
TAS: Treatment as a State
TEA/PPG: Tribal-EPA Agreement

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