• Text Resize A A A
  • Print Print
  • Share Share on facebook Share on twitter Share

Environmental Justice Strategy Implementation Highlights for 2014


Policy Development and Dissemination

Effective implementation of policies, such as legislation, regulations, executive orders, policy directives, and program guidance can serve as key tools to advance environmental justice. In particular, community residents and advocates have frequently cited Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and NEPA as important levers for achieving environmental justice, in addition to Executive Order 12898.

The strategic element, Policy Development and Dissemination, includes actions related to Title VI and NEPA, as well as actions to develop policy guidance for specific HHS programs and activities. The 2012 HHS EJ Strategy included climate change as an emerging issue in the Policy Development and Dissemination strategic element. Implementation activities were included under this element in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Implementation Progress Reports. However, in the 2015 Report, climate change activities are included under other strategic elements as well.

Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change

Signed in 2009, Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, represented an opportunity to highlight environmental justice through a focus on sustainability. Signed in November 2013, Executive Order 13653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, greatly expanded the scope and requirements of prior adaptation efforts under Executive Order 13514. It also required that interagency groups charged with evaluating public health and social equity issues impacted by climate change—including the EJ IWG established by Executive Order 12898—be responsible for ensuring that risks related to climate change are accounted for in such processes and shall work with agencies in meeting the requirements set forth in Executive Order 13653. It also entailed the development of a departmental adaptation plan that outlined the steps federal agencies would take to address risks to their mission posed by climate change.

Recent reports from the U.S. Global Change Research Program and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicate that climate change is already negatively affecting human health in the United States, and it is likely to have greater harmful effects on human health in the future. Although climate change may reduce certain health risks, it will likely worsen many existing health threats while also introducing new problems. Individuals and communities with underlying vulnerabilities, such as being impoverished, experiencing disproportionate and adverse environmental exposures, having pre-existing physical and behavioral health conditions, being very young or old, or living in geographically vulnerable areas, will be at the greatest risk of harm.

HHS provides a wide array of life-sustaining and critical human needs such as medical care, mental and behavioral healthcare, health surveillance, child care, elder care, home energy assistance, and other basic support services. This web of services creates a safety net to protect the public’s health and well-being. HHS collaborates with state, local, tribal, territorial, federal, and nongovernmental partners to sustain this safety net of services. Displaced and vulnerable populations, including those with environmental justice concerns, require continuity of care and access to services. Any gaps or delays in these services destabilize their health, safety, and well-being. The HHS Climate Adaptation Plan guides HHS efforts to ensure that these critical functions can continue in the face of climate change.

CDC’s Climate and Health Program Further Develops BRACE Framework for Local Health Departments

The Climate and Health Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework to help health departments prepare for and respond to climate change. The BRACE framework is a five-step process that helps health departments to understand how climate has and will affect human health, and enables health departments to use a systematic, evidence-based process to customize their response to local circumstances. In 2014, CDC released “Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Guide for Health Departments” to enable health departments to prepare for and respond to climate change.

Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience Exercise Series

HHS is participating in the Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience Exercise Series, sponsored by the White House National Security Council Staff, Council on Environmental Quality, and Office of Science and Technology Policy, in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Exercise Division. The overarching goal of this workshop series is to advance the climate adaptation dialogue and identify collaborative and sustainable approaches to community-based climate change preparedness and resilience. In 2014, exercises were conducted in Washington DC, Texas, Colorado, Alaska, and Virginia. The workshop series objectives are below.

  • Examine methods to better integrate existing and emerging information and requirements into current and future planning to manage and adapt to climate risks and vulnerabilities.
  • Identify collaborative and sustainable whole-community approaches to advance and sustain local climate preparedness and resilience programs, policies, and strategies.
  • Examine investment opportunities and the development of coalitions between local, state, tribal, federal, and private sector partners to support climate preparedness and resilience.
  • Examine relevant impacts and hazard mitigation strategies for populations of disproportionate impact (vulnerable communities and populations).

Sustainable and Climate Resilient Healthcare Facility Initiative

In the President’s Climate Action Plan, HHS committed to launching an effort “to create sustainable and resilient hospitals in the face of climate change. Through a public-private partnership with the healthcare industry, it will identify best practices and provide guidance on affordable measures to ensure that our medical system is resilient to climate impacts. It will also collaborate with partner agencies to share best practices among federal health facilities.” (Executive Office of the President, June 2013)

As a result, HHS created the Sustainable and Climate Resilient Healthcare Facilities Initiative (SCRHCFI) to encourage sustainable and climate resilient healthcare facilities in the United States. As part of the SCRHCFI, HHS developed a best practices document, “Primary Protection: Enhancing Healthcare Resilience for a Changing Climate.” This document was created through an extensive public-private development and review period throughout most of 2014. To engage environmental justice and labor stakeholders in this effort, HHS sponsored a workshop on July 31, 2014. The workshop provided valuable input, especially regarding the role of healthcare facilities within their communities and the need for community engagement in the resilience process. The document was released on December 15, 2014.

The overarching goal of the best practices document is to assist healthcare providers, design professionals, policymakers, and others with roles and responsibilities in assuring the continuity of care before, during, and after extreme weather events (e.g., Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina). The document focuses on healthcare infrastructure resilience to climate change impacts as manifested primarily by extreme weather events as well as impacts from sea level rise and prolonged drought.

HHS Climate Change and Health Webinar (August 6, 2014)

On August 6, 2014, OASH sponsored a 90-minute webinar on climate change and human health. Internationally recognized experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), CDC, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided an overarching national perspective and regional snapshots on climate change, including key health findings from the National Climate Assessment, and best practices to build health resilience in communities. In particular, it featured a presentation on vulnerable populations including seniors, children, people with underlying health conditions, environmental justice communities, indigenous cultures, and some communities of color. The webinar is available for viewing.

Education and Training

Develop and Implement an Environmental Justice Training Program for HHS Employees

The 2012 HHS EJ Strategy called for increasing the knowledge and understanding of health and environmental justice by developing an education and training program for HHS employees. In response, the HHS EJ Working Group created the Education and Training Crosscutting Group. The Crosscutting Group has completed development of the course. They are now collaborating with HHS University and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs to make the course available to HHS employees. The Crosscutting Group also documented their experience in developing a course. A “Lessons Learned” document is available upon request to other HHS employees who may be interested in creating similar training materials.

Worker Training Economic Analysis Report

Since 1995, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) has been recruiting and training people from underserved and disadvantaged backgrounds for careers in construction and environmental remediation. The program addresses the lack of access to training opportunities for underserved and underrepresented minorities, who not only work in jobs with the greatest exposures to toxic substances and experience higher rates of injuries, illnesses, and mortality in the workplace, but who also face extraordinary impediments to employment.

To document the successes and best practices of the program, a report was developed and released in March 2014, “Guidance on How to Achieve Successes and Best Practices.” It describes the development of the program, key findings, best practices for implementation and success, short- and long-term recommendations, and numerous case studies. Since publication, the NIEHS has continued to share the results of this guidance document at various meetings, workshops, and conferences.  

Alabama Fire College - Hazardous Material Worker Health and Safety Training, Cooperative Agreement

The WTP funds a national network of over 100 non-profit safety and health training organizations to provide training to workers who handle hazardous materials, hazardous waste, or are involved in emergency response to hazardous materials incidents. Workers who are assisted through this program include American Indians, including tribal employees of natural resource, law enforcement, emergency medical, fire service, public works agencies, and other hazardous materials and transportation workers. Overall, the WTP, through it awardees, trained nearly 1200 Native Americans. The Alabama Fire College (AFC) trained nearly 700 American Indians via 14 tribes to protect themselves and their communities from hazardous materials encountered in workplaces and during emergency response operations through their partnership with the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (NAFWS). Key training occurred at Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Cayuse, Walla Walla, and Umatilla) and at three tribes in Albuquerque, NM – the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, Eight Northern Indian Pueblo Council, and the Pueblo of Sandia Tribe. At the NAFWS National Conference and the Pacific Northwest Regional Conference--both in Pendleton, OR--AFC offered two 8-hour hazardous awareness trainings for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Cayuse – Walla Walla – Umatilla) and one class at the National Conference to the Yakima Tribe of Washington State.

National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program – March 27, 2014 Washington DC

At the 2014 National Environmental Justice Conference, Sharon D. Beard, an industrial hygienist for NIEHS WTP, presented the environmental justice accomplishments of the WTP program. The presentation highlighted a program model designed to effectively address the significant impediments to training and employment that challenge underserved and disadvantaged people. By helping to increase sustainable employment opportunities, promote economic development, address health disparities, and advance environmental justice, the program has transformed the lives of trainees, families, and communities traditionally overburdened by economic distress and exposures to hazardous environmental conditions.

Engaging Minority Serving Institutions to Address Disparities in Environmental Health and Occupational Safety and Health

NIEHS provides support to minority serving institutions in addressing environmental health and safety. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Consortium consists of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University in New Orleans, LA in collaboration with Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, TX; Green Door Initiative, Inc. in Detroit, MI; Citizens for Environmental Justice in Savannah, GA; United Steelworkers; United Autoworkers; minority-owned training providers; and local, state, and federal agencies.

The main goals of the consortium are to: 1) build the capacity of HBCUs and community-based organizations to deliver technically sound hazardous waste worker training to workers who may be exposed to hazardous materials while performing jobs, 2) to reach underserved workers in the proposed target population, especially those disadvantaged in education, language skills, or limited in literacy, and 3) to provide health and safety training for workers in the new and emerging area of green remediation/jobs to address new hazards to the hazardous waste workforce.

For the Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program, 660 participants attended a total of 55 classes, resulting in 6,636 training hours delivered to HBCU employees, small business owners and employees, and municipal workers. The Second Regional Atlanta Environmental Health and Safety Training was held in Atlanta, GA and hosted by Spelman University on December 11-12, 2013. Fourteen participants were trained during the 16-hour period, resulting in over 200 training hours for four local HBCUs, including Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Rhodes College. Another regional training occurred at Texas Southern University (TSU) on March 10-12, 2014, where 50 HBCU and other university employees were trained in 14 different health and safety topics, for a total of 328 training hours with the majority of those trained from TSU and Prairie A&M University.

The consortium also implemented year-four of a five-year training program and trained 25 or more participants for a total of 102 in New Orleans, LA; Detroit, MI; Savannah, GA; and Houston TX. The program was hugely successful with one of the highest job placement rates of our programs—approximately 91 percent of those trained obtained jobs as an asbestos abatement worker, environmental technician, or construction/carpentry worker.

Research and Data Collection, Analysis, and Utilization

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Activities on Climate Change and Health

There is strong evidence that climate change is and will present occupational safety and health (OSH) hazards. Environmental justice implications include worker populations such as migrant workers and day laborers who are directly exposed to the impacts of climate change such as heat stress. These workers may have inadequate housing or other social and economic constraints and the health effects of climate change may be additive from exposures both at work and at home. These and other workers may also be exposed to conditions that the general public can elect to avoid, and employment increases are likely in areas most affected.

To address these issues, numerous critical research questions need to be resolved regarding specific hazards, sentinel events, risk assessment, and preventive actions. Research on hazards, surveillance, and risk assessment activities are needed to better characterize and understand how OSH may be associated with climate change events and ensure worker health and safety issues are anticipated, recognized, evaluated, and mitigated.

CDC’s NIOSH formed an interdisciplinary team of NIOSH scientists to investigate the OSH implications of climate change and develop an action plan to ensure NIOSH is proactively addressing this topic. The NIOSH Climate Change Occupational Safety and Health (CCOSH) Work Group is working to determine OSH issues, identify gaps in worker protection, and make recommendations for worker safety and health improvements in regard to climate change. Other CCOSH Work Group activities are anticipated to include the following.

  • Maintaining an inventory of NIOSH activities relevant to climate change
  • Developing a research agenda to address identified gaps and emerging issues
  • Establishing and maintaining a reference database
  • Identifying, developing, and disseminating communications products
  • Participating on federal, state, and other climate change initiatives as appropriate to ensure OSH are included as core components of public health

In addition, NIOSH has made climate change and OSH an emphasis area and has funded an internal project that will use geographic information system data to identify workers and facilities that would be impacted by severe weather events.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery and Rebuilding Supplemental Appropriation Funding

More than $8 million in grants was awarded to nine recipients in September 2013 to support research to aid the long-term recovery in areas hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. In January 2014, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), CDC, and NIEHS convened their Sandy recovery science grantees for an unprecedented initial grantee meeting, at the beginning of their projects, to foster collaboration and information sharing. As an outgrowth of that meeting, up to $4.3 million in grants were awarded to support collaborative projects among existing grantees from ASPR, CDC, and NIEHS. These new grants build on the original ASPR, CDC, and NIEHS Sandy recovery science research and training awards, and will allow ASPR, CDC, and NIEHS grantees to work together to maximize the benefit of their respective projects to Sandy-impacted communities, contribute to the growing knowledge base of evidence-based research, and inform national best practices in future disaster and public health emergency responses.

The collaborative research awards are intended to increase the effectiveness of the existing Sandy recovery science efforts by reducing unnecessary duplication of research efforts; improving the quality of the investigations through new and expanded study populations; improving and, where appropriate, standardizing common core questions to promote reliable trend analyses based on comparable data; and sharing (and comparing) different research methodologies. Both the original grants and the collaborative grants require researchers to share their findings with each other and with the impacted communities. This approach will bring together networks of community members and organizations needed to foster a strong recovery and to improve resilience as impacted communities continue to move forward in rebuilding.

Funding Opportunity Announcement: Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), NIEHS, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined forces in 2014 to issue a  new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to support Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research that will stimulate basic and applied research on environmental health disparities. Grantees are expected to develop innovative approaches to understand environmentally driven health disparities and improve access to healthy environments for vulnerable populations and communities. The proposed centers are expected to support research efforts, mentoring, research translation, and information dissemination.

Existing programs established independently by the EPA, NIEHS, and NIMHD have fostered collaboration across disciplines and enabled multidisciplinary teams of community and academic experts from diverse backgrounds to conduct research on health disparities and environmental health disparities. For example, NIEHS and EPA environmental health research has contributed to the development of evidence-based solutions for environmental inequities, and EPA’s previous partnership with the NIMHD Centers of Excellence programs have supported significant scientific advances and contributions to easing the disproportionate health burden in underserved populations and in reducing health disparities. These collaborative programs have explored crucial areas that affect health-disparate communities by including research linking environmental, biological, and non-biological determinants of health, and by using approaches such as community-based participatory research and community-engagement, education and training, and information dissemination as key elements of the Centers.

Building on the strengths of these efforts, EPA, NIEHS, NIMHD, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) issued the joint FOA. Outcomes of this research are expected to promote innovative approaches to mitigate environmentally driven health disparities and improved access to healthy environments for vulnerable populations. Research objectives and topics in the FOA are based on public comments received in response to a Request for Information that was issued in October 2012, and feedback received from participants at the NIMHD, EPA, and NIEHS workshop at the December 2012 Summit on the Science of Eliminating Health Disparities. NIH and EPA intend to fund approximately five awards, corresponding to $5.1 million per year, for five years beginning in fiscal year 2015.

Funding Opportunity Announcements: Creating Asthma Empowerment Collaborations to Reduce Childhood Asthma Disparities

In December 2014, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) issued two companion funding announcements to create asthma empowerment collaborations to reduce childhood asthma disparities. The first announcement is designed to support investigators planning a clinical trial to evaluate Asthma Care Implementation Programs (ACIP) for children at high-risk of poor asthma outcomes. Investigators will conduct a community needs assessment and propose an ACIP that meets the needs of their community and integrates interventions with demonstrated efficacy from multiple sectors (e.g., medical care, family, home, and community) into a comprehensive program. The second announcement, which will open in October 2016, will support clinical trials to evaluate the ACIP, including asthma outcomes and sustainability of the program.

Participatory Interventions to Reduce Arsenic Exposure in American Indian Country

In 2014, the Indian Health Service (IHS) Office of Environmental Health and Engineering worked collaboratively with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health as they developed the research proposal, “Participatory Interventions to Reduce Arsenic in American Indian Communities,” submitted to the NIEHS. The proposed project aims to assess impacts of multi-level participatory interventions to reduce arsenic exposure via individual drinking water wells in Native American homes on two reservations in South Dakota and North Dakota. The IHS, with the consent of the tribes involved, provided the university researchers with technical comments on their proposal, additional points of contact within the communities, and data on historic well water quality analyses.

This work is important because community engagement approaches to improve the effectiveness of household level strategies have not been evaluated in Indian Country. Formative research will be completed focusing on understanding the community, including cultural, household, and individual factors that influence sustainable use of in-home arsenic removal drinking water treatment units. This will allow the development and testing of tailored intervention approaches that are community-based to address arsenic exposure in Native American and Alaska Native communities. The outcome of this work will be utilized by IHS to improve the delivery of environmental health programs throughout Indian country.

Native American Research Center for Health Supports Environmental Health and Justice Research

In 2014, the IHS Office of Public Health Support worked in collaboration with the NIH to support a number of environmental health and justice research projects through the Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH) program. Funded projects included: 1) “Environmental Uranium Exposure of Sheep Living Around Mining Sites on Navajo Nation” and 2) “Investigation of Chronic Uranium Exposure as a Health Risk”—Center for Native Environmental Health Research Network, Salish Kootenai Tribal College is conducting both of these projects, 3) “Effects of Complex Metal Exposure on Immune Status of Tribal Members Living on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation,” conducted by the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, and 4) a number of Environmental Health Capacity Building projects aimed at reducing adverse impacts on environmental justice communities, administered by the Cankdeska Cikana Community College to five Tribal Colleges and Universities.

NIH Tribal Workshop (November 20, 2014)

NIMHD along with a trans-NIH planning team, organized this one-day event, “National Institutes of Health’s American Indian/Alaska Native Research Forum” that brought together established and new tribal investigators. Yvonne Maddox (Acting Director, NIMHD) welcomed the invited participants and emphasized that the purpose of the meeting was to present NIH-funded projects that focused on examining diseases and conditions disproportionately affecting American Indian and Alaska Native communities and to discuss the science. Presentations addressed topics such as historical trauma, access to healthful food and obesity, mental health of youth, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

The meeting concluded with a panel presentation and group discussion focused on challenges and opportunities. Groups highlighted different community-engaged approaches, emphasized the importance of local knowledge, and articulated the need for culturally appropriate interventions. Comments from the panelists emphasized the need to strengthen the cultural competence of peer-reviewers, build capacity of tribal organizations to be partners in the research process—the Native American Research Centers for Health was noted as a good example, better resource sharing in practice, strengthen mentoring, and improve NIH/academic acceptance of community-engaged research approaches—recognizing additional time needed to implement projects when involving communities as equal partners.

2014 Minority Health and Health Disparities Grantees' Conference

This conference was convened on December 1–3, 2014 in National Harbor, MD. It brought together over 1,700 scientists, healthcare and public health professionals, public policy professionals, members of community-based and faith-based organizations, and government officials. In keeping with the conference theme, “Transdisciplinary Collaborations: Evolving Dimensions of U.S. and Global Health Equity,” the scientific program highlighted excellence and innovations in basic, clinical, and translational research conducted by NIMHD-supported investigators, and focused on the development of early career investigators through training and professional workshops, mentoring, and meet-the-expert sessions. A highlight of the conference included presentations by NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, and by NIMHD Acting Director, Yvonne Maddox, on health disparities and global health equity.

The conference offered opportunities for sharing research outcomes by presenting over 1,000 scientific abstracts via plenary and poster sessions focused on health equity, and on improving minority health and reducing and/or eliminating disparities in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, women's health, mental health, infectious disease, stroke, and other diseases and co-morbidities, with emphasis on biological, environmental, and social determinants of health. The conference also offered opportunities for networking and forging new transdisciplinary research collaborations and partnerships that are necessary to address health equity in the U.S. and globally.

Services

HRSA Provides Training and Technical Assistance for Community Health Centers

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), Office of National Assistance and Special Populations supports several National Cooperative Agreements (NCAs). The NCAs provide training and technical assistance to HRSA-funded Community Health Centers to improve primary health access for vulnerable populations, including people experiencing homelessness, residents of public housing, and agricultural workers and their families. HRSA/BPHC funding opportunity announcements for NCAs can be found on the Grants.gov website at www.grants.gov.

In 2014, HRSA distributed $4.4 million to five NCAs focusing on migrant and seasonal agricultural worker populations. The funding helped to support a range of activities including training sessions and presentations, health forums, the development and dissemination of resource materials, and publications.

For example, the NCA with Health Outreach Partners helped to support the “Niños Seguros y Sanos: Safe and Healthy Children” project. This project aims to address environmental health in migrant and seasonal farmworker children by educating and empowering those who already have direct involvement and relationships with the children: physicians, nurses, outreach workers, promotoras, and health specialists, among others. The trainings and curriculum include a particular focus on how to protect farmworker children from early exposure to environmental hazards that cause illness and disability across the lifespan.

In addition, the NCA with the National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc. helps to support a series of forums for regional farmworker advocates, health and social service providers, policy makers, and other interested individuals. Three annual conferences are located in each of the migratory streams, which are established regions corresponding to agricultural production cycles. Agricultural workers flow up and down these regions as they follow the harvest. The purpose of the migrant stream forums is to discuss regional and national trends that affect farmworkers and share best practices for addressing farmworker needs. The migrant stream forums also provide continuing education credits to healthcare providers on farmworker-specific issues, as well as an opportunity to network among healthcare professionals serving migratory and seasonal agricultural workers and their family members. Forums were held in February 2014 in Seattle, WA; October 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA; and November 2014 in San Antonio, TX.

Reproductive and Environmental Health Network

HRSA also awarded $1.2 million in 2014 to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists in a cooperative agreement to fund a Reproductive and Environmental Health Network. The focus of the Network is to improve maternal and fetal health outcomes through providing education, individualized counseling, improved access to resources, and advancing the knowledge base related to the safety of exposures to medication and environmental agents before, during, and after pregnancy. Strategies include providing individualized risk-assessments and counseling services, developing and disseminating the most current education to providers and the public, improving access to information for hard-to-reach populations, and supporting a national network of resources with centers accessible to each of the ten HRSA regions.

CDC Introduces Pesticide Exposure Module to Tracking Portal

The CDC National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network added a new Health Impact Assessment and Pesticides Exposure module to the tracking portal. The pesticide exposures indicators provide information for all 50 states about the rate and number of reported exposures to different kinds of pesticides and the illnesses related to the exposures. In addition, users of the portal can select advanced options for the data that provide critical information on the location where people are exposed, such as home or at work; and the reason for the exposure, such as unintentional exposure from air or soil, improper or incorrect use of a pesticide, and work-related activities. The pesticide exposure data used on the Tracking Network come from poison control centers in the U.S. The American Association of Poison Control Centers works with the nation's poison centers throughout the U.S. to monitor poisonings and their sources. The portal link is: http://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showHome.action.

Administration for Native Americans Provides Funding for New Projects

In 2014, Administration for Native Americans (ANA) provided funding to support 184 new and continuing projects through its Social and Economic Development Strategies, Native Languages, and Environmental Regulatory Enhancement programs. ANA also continues to provide free trainings and technical assistance to grantees and applicants to help with project planning and development, pre-application assistance, and project implementation. Applicants who participated in the trainings were more successful in attaining the grants. In addition, the ANA Training and Technical Assistance centers hosted monthly webinars on issues identified by the Native community, including Integrating ANA and EPA funding, environmental grantee success stories, grant writing, and strategic planning. In September 2014, ANA funded four new Environmental Regulatory Enhancement grantees.

These include the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, which is receiving funding for a three-year project to support the ongoing monitoring efforts of the Southeast Alaska Tribal Toxins (SEATT) partnership, which aims to establish a U.S Food and Drug Administration certified regulatory biotoxin lab capable of analyzing shellfish tissue for toxins in Sitka, AK. This lab would provide the SEATT partners the ability to assess their communities' vulnerability for human health risks following with the same regulatory standards used by other state and federal agencies.

A second grantee is the Little Traverse Bay Bands (LTBB) of the Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs, MI. The goal of the project is to improve water quality protections for the LTBB Reservation using a policy development framework that incorporates both scientific environmental data and traditional ecological knowledge through a collaborative community process. The applicant will create a workgroup to address surface water resources, and also engage and inform LTBB citizens about water quality protections.

ANA is also supporting the Yurok Tribe’s work to increase positive wildlife resource stewardship via integration of traditional cultural management practices into newly formed legislation, while also promoting compliance amongst the membership via reinvestment in traditional cultural values. To accomplish this, the project will produce and implement a culturally based Game and Non-Game Harvest Management Ordinance, develop the tribe's capacity to enforce the Harvest Ordinance and promote membership compliance, and promote a tribally oriented education campaign.

Finally, the Quinault Indian Nation is receiving support form ANA to create a Tribal Environmental Policy Act (TEPA). The project's objectives are to create a TEPA with standards for surface and ground water quality, air quality, hazardous materials, pesticides and light and noise pollution and others; create a shoreline regulatory management plan element of the TEPA; and integrate environmental codes and shorelines regulatory management plan into existing Title 48 Development Code, and existing Title 61 Natural Resources Code, and establish administrative procedures and implementation training regarding environmental issues in community development.

 


Back to 2015 Environmental Justice Implementation Progress Report

Content created by Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH)
Content last reviewed on August 15, 2017