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Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Receives $300,000 From Feds Infrastructure Law to Reduce Pollution

NEW YORK (September 14, 2022) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe has been selected to receive one of the first pollution prevention (P2) grants to be awarded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $100 million to fund pollution prevention projects. These grants will allow states, Tribes and public universities to provide businesses with technical assistance to help them develop and adopt P2 practices to prevent or reduce pollution before it is even created, while also reducing business and liability costs. EPA is awarding 39 P2 grants this year totaling almost $12 million.


“I am happy to announce that the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe will receive funding to help develop a better way to manage and handle road salt, which has posed a problem on the nation’s lands,” said Lisa F. Garcia, EPA Regional Administrator. “It is always better to prevent pollution before it happens and that is exactly what these types of grants aim to accomplish.”

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division Assistant Director Les Benedict said: “Road salt is widely used in snow belt regions and its use has doubled since 1975, causing environmental damage to reach unacceptable levels. It’s applied to paved surfaces and pollutes the environment as runoff. This grant will allow us to provide training and develop cooperative efforts to avoid its overapplication.”

Through $302,546 in EPA funding, SRMT will develop best management practices to reduce road salt usage in Indian country as well as providing technical assistance, services, and training for Akwesasne businesses. Through this project, snow and ice managers who make decisions about using road salt on Saint Regis Mohawk lands will learn how best to identify, develop and adopt pollution prevention practices to reduce road salt run-off that impacts water quality and damages the environment. The training will focus on cost-effective ways to minimize road salt usage, employ best practices to store, handle and apply road salt, and use alternatives that are less-damaging. The services and workshops funded by the P2 grant will remove barriers that previously limited access to technical assistance for snow and ice management.

Through this project, SRMT will provide specialized engineering services to assess current storage and develop recommendations for improvements. Snow and ice managers will also receive on-site training in best management practices. Reducing road salt contamination is important to preserving the biodiversity of native plants found along roadways that are effective in storing greenhouse gas and exhaust pollution.

The P2 Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to underserved communities. State and Tribal programs awarded grants will not be required to provide matching funds, as is required by traditional P2 grants. The ability to waive the match requirement under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in addition to the new National Emphasis Area (NEA) for businesses in Indian country, helped to broaden and diversify the applicant pool. Many grants selected will support implementing pollution prevention practices in Indian country.

The United States produces billions of pounds of pollution each year and spends billions of dollars per year controlling this pollution. Preventing pollution at the source, also known as P2 or source reduction, rather than managing waste after it is produced is an important part of advancing a sustainable economic and environmental infrastructure. P2 can lessen exposure to toxic chemicals, conserve natural resources, and reduce financial costs for businesses, particularly costs associated with waste management, disposal and cleanup. These practices are essential for protecting health, improving environmental conditions in and around disadvantaged communities, and preserving natural resources like wetlands, groundwater sources, and other critical ecosystems.

Selected and awarded grantees will document and share P2 best practices they identify and develop through these grants so that others can replicate the practices and outcomes. Each selected grantee will address at least one of the NEAs, which were established to focus resources to achieve measurable results and to create opportunities to share information among P2 grantees and businesses affiliated with similar NEAs. Each selected grantee will also develop at least one case study during the grant period on P2 practices that are new or not widely known or adopted, or where detailed information on the P2 practices could benefit other businesses or P2 technical assistance providers.

These grants are the first of five P2 grant programs over the next five years that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA has announced two other new P2 grant opportunities funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. One will encourage products, purchasing, and/or supply chains that are safer, more sustainable, and environmentally preferable and the other will encourage businesses that are working in, or working with, underserved and disadvantaged communities to adopt P2 practices. Later this year, EPA also anticipates awarding traditional P2 grants administered by the agency as it has for over 25 years.

EPA anticipates that it will award the grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied. Grants supported with Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds will be fully funded at the time grants are awarded.