San Carlos Apache Tribe receives funding to address contaminated environmental sites
The San Carlos Apache Tribe is set to receive more than $166,000 in funding to help it address contaminated brownfield sites that threaten environmental and public health of the tribe.
The funding comes from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law passed last year, and was inserted into the legislation by Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly.
“This investment will not only help us clean up contaminated land and protect the health of tribal members, it will also create development opportunities for economic growth,” Kelly said in a statement from his office.
The number of brownfields the San Carlos Apache Tribe will address was not included in the funding announcement from Kelly and Sinema. A brownfield is a site that may have the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The tribe will use the funding to conduct a timely survey and inventory of brownfield sites to ensure the response actions protect human health and the environment, according to officials. They will also work to provide meaningful public involvement, mechanisms for cleanup plans, and verification of complete responses..
The funding ensures the San Carlos Apache Tribe has the resources necessary to clean up brownfield sites that stifle our environment, public health and economic growth, Sinema said in a written statement.
The money will be disbursed through the EPA, and sites must meet three qualities to be considered brown fields. The site has to be considered an underused commercial or industrial site, it must have redevelopment potential and that redevelopment potential needs to be complicated by known or perceived contamination from a hazardous substance.
It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S, according to the EPA, and investing in the clean up of these sites both improves and protects the environment.
In 2021, the San Carlos Apache Tribe used a state-level brownfield grant to remove an asbestos-filled building at the Cutter Airport to prepare the site for expansion and growth.
This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.