MENDOCINO Co., 1/7/2020 — The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians will receive $200,000 over the next two years through an environmental justice grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant, known as the State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement, was created with the intention of assisting low income and minority communities disproportionately impacted by environmental burdens. For the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo, it will provide funds for the tribe to better prepare themselves from natural disasters, a task they plan to take on by deepening partnerships with institutions in Redwood Valley, creating a disaster resiliency plan, organizing emergency response training, and building a resiliency training center to support the training, among other things.
“This opportunity strengthens our Sovereignty and strengthens our crisis management response to continue to support and protect our community and surrounding neighbors,” said Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians Tribal Chairman Michael Hunter, in an EPA press release about the grant.
The award was announced to the public by John Busterud, regional administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest district, at a meeting Thursday morning. “As the impacts of climate change become more severe, the ability of communities to address disasters through thoughtful planning becomes more important,” said Busterud. That is exactly what the tribe is trying to do, and now they have a hefty chunk of change from the EPA to help them succeed.
The tribe decided to apply for the grant in light of years of recent fires and other disasters that have plagued their Redwood Valley home, leaving them with, at times, limited water, smoke filled air, and no electricity.
Chairman Hunter said the grant will allow the tribe to better guard themselves against the impacts of natural disasters that may affect the region in the years to come. He hopes that as the tribe moves forward in preparing themselves for the worst, the Redwood Valley community and the tribe can pool their resources to better prepare for disaster. “I’m really excited about future collaboration between the tribe, Redwood Valley, the Redwood Valley Fire Department, and the community,” said Hunter.
The EPA received 51 applications for the grant, ultimately selecting seven recipients to split $2 million dollars between. The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians was the only tribe to receive this environmental justice EPA grant.
Note: Lana Cohen is a Report For America fellow covering the environment & natural resources for TMV & KZYX. Her position is funded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino, Report for America, & our readers. You can support Lana’s work here or email [email protected]. Contact Cohen at LCohen@mendovoice.com. TMV maintains editorial control.