Tribute for the tribes

Federal EPA lauds Navajo EPA

During a ceremony in Window Rock, Ariz., the U.S. Environmental Agency recognized the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency for its 30 years working to preserve and restore the environment.

Navajo Nation EPA and the U.S. EPA are working in concert to conduct the cleanup of tribal lands. The efforts are in response to the millions of tons of uranium ore that were mined between the ’40s and the ’80s on Arizona, New Mexico and Utah reservations where Navajos built homes not knowing about the contaminants, according to The Associated Press.

Together, the agencies have assessed 113 structures and are in the process of demolishing and excavating 27 radiation-contaminated structures and 10 residential yards. The plan is to assess about 500 structures over a five-year period. The efforts include helping to ensure that safe drinking water is provided to residents.

“The EPA applauds the Navajo Nation EPA not only for their achievements on their land, but for their leadership role in the development of tribal environmental programs nationally,” Laura Yoshii, EPA’s Pacific Southwest regional director, said in a press release.