In 1992, Congress passed the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program Act (42 U.S.C. 4368b) which authorizes EPA to provide General Assistance Program (GAP) grants to federally-recognized tribes and tribal consortia for planning, developing, and establishing environmental protection programs in Indian country, as well as for developing and implementing solid and hazardous waste programs on tribal lands.
The goal of this program is to assist tribes in developing the capacity to manage their own environmental protection programs, and to develop and implement solid and hazardous waste programs in accordance with individual tribal needs and applicable federal laws and regulations.
The Shawnee Tribe Environment and Natural Resources Department was established in 2002 with the award of its first GAP grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Currently Rosanna Sheppard is the Department's Director. Over the past 12 years the tribe has focused on environmental education through numerous outreach projects. The mission of the department is to understand, protect, manage, and restore the natural environment of the Tribe and its members, with an abiding respect for the Shawnee traditional culture.
The department is currently in the beginning stages of developing two new programs; a comprehensive Indoor Air Quality program that will eventually aid staff and tribal members in addressing potential indoor air quality issues within their homes. As well as an extensive Global Information and Positioning System (GIS/GPS), which will greatly assist all tribal departments and Tribal Leaders in the decision making process.
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