WASHINGTON (June 4, 2020) — As part of its 50th anniversary commemoration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is kicking off a month-long look at some of the key state, tribal, international, non-profit, and private sector partnerships that have helped our nation further its progress toward cleaner air, water, and land.
“In honor of EPA’s 50th anniversary, it is important to take a moment to reflect on the agency’s investment in state, local, tribal, and international environmental programs, people, and infrastructure. This investment has had lasting impacts on the state of our environment, resulting in cleaner air, water, and land in the United States and across the globe,” said Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento.
“This month we highlight the fact that pollution knows no borders, and we are working closely with our government partners in Mexico and Canadian partners and with key countries around the world to provide current and future generations with a healthier environment and stronger economy,” said Chad McIntosh, EPA Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs.
“EPA salutes the progress tribal nations have made and the importance of our continued commitment to improved access to safe drinking water and other environmental protections in Indian country, which are all the more important as we face the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Scott Mason, Director of EPA’s American Indian Environmental Office.
Some of the key partnership programs to be highlighted in the month of June include:
EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs oversees programs and initiatives such as reducing transboundary pollution along the United States-Mexico border, EPA’s international Trash Free Waters program, and assisting tribal nations with capacity building to improve human health and the environment on tribal lands. Key initiatives include:
- Working with the Government of Mexico to reduce transboundary pollution along the US-Mexico Border.
- Assisting countries better manage solid waste in order to reduce marine litter in our shared oceans.
- The United States joining the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013 and continuing to be a global leader on this issue.
- Becoming one of the first federal agencies to recognize the government to government relationship in our day-to-day work with the adoption of the EPA 1984 Indian Policy and the establishment of the American Indian Environmental Office and an EPA-Tribal Governments advisory body in 1994.
- Providing millions of dollars each year in support for tribes to address environmental and health challenges. This year, EPA is providing $65 million to over 500 tribes for building their environmental programs in Indian country.
The agency’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations (OCIR) and the 10 EPA Regions work collaboratively with states, local government, and tribes to implement laws that protect human health and the environment, rather than dictating one-size-fits-all mandates from Washington. For example:
- Last year, EPA disbursed more than $4 billion in State and Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) funding to states, territories, and tribes to support their environmental programs.
- Since 1995, EPA and states have implemented the National Environmental Performance Partnership System (NEPPS), a performance-based system of environmental protection designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of EPA partnerships with states, territories, and tribes. Celebrating its 25th year, NEPPS focuses resources on the most pressing environmental problems and leverages the unique capacities of each partner to achieve the greatest environmental and human health protection.
- EPA recently onboarded the agency’s first Municipal Ombudsman to serve as a resource for communities on their Clean Water Act needs. The Municipal Ombudsman is an impartial resource who works directly with agency leadership and regional offices to ensure that agency policies are implemented consistently in communities. Communities can contact the Municipal Ombudsman for information on federal financial assistance, Clean Water Act flexibilities, and integrated planning and green infrastructure that can help a community meet multiple environmental goals all while building a more resilient community.
- The Local Government Advisory Committee, a formal advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, meets regularly to provide advice and recommendations that assist EPA in developing a stronger partnership with local governments through building state and local capacity to deliver environmental services and programs.
The Office of Policy, the chief policy arm of the Agency directly advising the Administrator on advancing the Agency’s mission of protecting the environment and human health, oversees several innovative, collaborative partnership programs which include the following:
- The Smart Sectors program, which provides a platform to collaborate with regulated sectors and develop sensible approaches that better protect the environment and public health. Each of EPA’s 10 regional offices has instituted a Smart Sectors program. In April, EPA released “sector snapshots” that provide measurable historical and economic performance data for eight sectors, for a total of 12 sectors with the last one to be added later this month.
- The Office of Community Revitalization, which provides a variety of technical assistance programs that include helping communities boost economic opportunities for their local farmers (Local Foods, Local Places), helping communities to revitalize their economy through outdoor recreation (Recreational Economy), and implementing strategies for community resilience (Building Blocks). Most recently, the agency announced 16 communities selected to receive assistance under the Local Foods, Local Places program.
- The Office of Environmental Justice – which coordinates with multiple partners that include federal and local government, business and industry, and academia – to help improve environmental and public health conditions of low-income and minority communities. In response to the global pandemic, EPA recently announced $1 million in grant funding available to help states, local governments, tribes and territories address COVID-19 concerns faced by low-income and minority communities.
EPA’s Office of Public Engagement and Environmental Education oversees environmental education outreach, including EPA’s first ever Memorandum of Understanding with the Future Farmers of America to advance educational outreach for EPA’s ongoing environmental and public health initiatives.
As EPA celebrates its 50th Anniversary, the agency recognizes the value of partnerships in fulfilling our mission to protect human health and the environment. For more on EPA’s 50th Anniversary and how the agency is protecting America’s waters, land and air, visit: https://www.epa.gov/50.
Follow EPA’s 50th Anniversary celebration on social media using #EPAat50.