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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals at Northern Arizona University has received $975,000 in grant funding to administer a program for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Under the five-year cooperative agreement, ITEP will facilitate and offer technical assistance for the EPA’s Tribal Pesticide Program Council, an initiative that informs tribes of pesticide issues, fosters education about pesticide use and assists in the establishment of tribal pesticide programs. 

“We are honored to be selected for this cooperative agreement and to be working with EPA to support the Tribal Pesticide Program Council,” ITEP Executive Director Ann Marie Chischilly said in a statement. 

The council serves as a forum for tribal environmental officials to share information, discuss pesticide issues with the EPA and offer input on national pesticide policy as it affects tribes. 

Under the agreement, ITEP will help identify pesticide-related areas of tribal interest, assist the council by providing comments and issue papers about EPA policy decisions affecting Indian Country, communicate with tribal and non-tribal pesticide organizations, and facilitate pesticide related training — all under the direction of helping the EPA create a tribally driven agenda that fits their needs and concerns, according to the initial request for proposals.

Applications for the five-year competitive grant were submitted by Nov. 20, 2019. 

“EPA is proud of its relationship with tribal governments and the valuable input they provide to help us meet our mission of protecting human health and the environment across the country,” EPA Office of International and Tribal Affairs Assistant Administrator Chad McIntosh said in a statement.

ITEP was founded in 1992 in cooperation with the EPA to strengthen tribal capacity and sovereignty in environmental and natural resource management. The institute offers culturally relevant education, research, partnerships and policy-based services aimed at protecting Native American natural resources.