Tribal Response Program
Copper River Native Association (CRNA) started its cooperative agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and maintain a Tribal Response Program (TRP) on October 1st 2011. This agreement will be managed by TRP Coordinator.
The TRP Coordinator attended the October 5th Copper Basin Land Managers Meeting in Glennallen. This provided a great opportunity for TRP Coordinator to introduce the TRP to many potential partners and environmental stakeholders.
Mid-way through October an invitation to participate in a 24 hour Oil Spill Response Training was received. This training was held in Cordova, Alaska and hosted by the Native Village of EYAK’s Tribal Response Program. Training and certification was provided by AK Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Environmental Protection Agency, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals and private contractors. This was an excellent training that has certainly strengthened the TRP.
The TRP Coordinator was asked to sit on the planning committee for the 17th Annual Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management (ATCEM) and was pleased to be able to spread program awareness and perform valuable public outreach at ATCEM. The TRP Coordinator served as a moderator for environmental presentation and presented on two topics, successful Brownfield partnerships and Emergency Preparedness in the home and work place. Both presentations were well received and provided heightened program capacity.
The TRP Coordinator also attended the Alaska State wide Brownfield Training in the second week of November 2011. The Brownfield Training provided another valuable opportunity for capacity building. The TRP Coordinator also co-presented with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) on topics Brownfield Projects and Successful Partnerships that have been developed over the past year. These partnerships were made possible by support for Brownfield projects through CRNA’s Indian General Assistance Program (IGAP). Special thanks to Region 10 EPA project officers.
The TRP Coordinator used information gathered from past meetings and trainings to start the Brownfield site inventory process. This process included contacting AK DEC to obtain list of known sites within Copper River region and combining them with newly identified sites and contacting State, Federal and private land owners that have current site cleanup projects, to introduce TRP and identify active projects. The program is designed to be transparent and approachable to project stakeholders, to ensure ability for the TRP to provide oversight, input and facilitation to these regional projects.
An active Formerly Utilized Defense (FUD) sight in the Native Village of Gulkana was visited, this project is being managed at the Tribal level and being funded in part by the Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP). The TRP Coordinator will continue to work directly with Tribal Environmental staff and monitor cleanup process. The TRP Coordinator has established communication with the Wrangell St. Elias National Park Service (NPS), which is in the early stages of a Superfund site cleanup of old mining tailings. This site is located within northeast corner of the Park. After attending a web conference on enumeration and remediation of mine tailings, the TRP Coordinator was invited to join NPS crews in early spring, for a tour of mine sites to work with the NPS as they proceed with site reclamation. The Native Village of Tazlina’s Copper Valley School site project has been a focal point of CRNA’s Environmental Department efforts and will continue to be over the next year.
On November 18th an invitation to the Citizen Oversight Campaign Strategic Plan Workshop at Prince William Sound Community College in Glennallen AK was received. For a number of years Copper River citizens have been trying to form a Citizen Advisory or Oversight Council for the 800 mile Trans Alaskan Pipeline System (TAPS) corridor. As a result of the1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 came into effect and the Prince William Sound Regional Citizen’s Advisory Council was formed to provide invaluable input from citizens on the safe practices for Marine pipeline terminals and tanker transport in and out of Alaska waters. However no citizen oversight for the corridor length of pipeline has been established. This group of stakeholders is trying to form such a council. As identified in CRNA’s 2011 agreement with EPA, T.A.P.S has the potential to be one of the greatest environmental hazards in the Copper River Region. A lot has been learned about the importance of independent oversight of such a large oil industry project. The TRP Coordinator took part in the 2011 T.A.P.S. Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency (C-Plan) renewal with AK DEC and made comments during public comment period and followed approval process of new C-Plan. The TRP and Tribal Environmental programs will develop a strong voice for the safe transport of petroleum product through our region. The TRP Coordinator has been invited to take part in future spill response drills with T.A.P.S. response contractors from Copper River sub district. These will provide excellent spill prevention information and capacity building for TRP.
Introduction to the Public Record:
Copper River Native Association’s Tribal Response Program is will be providing, updates and progress reports of active site clean-up and spill responses in the Copper River Region. Titled the Public Record it will include information on; current activity and clean-up plans for know Brownfield, Military and Alaska DEC sites. It will also provide data on site location and if possible the responsible parties for clean-up of listed sites. The Public record will be provided in conjunction with the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the U. S. Department of Environmental Protection.
The Tribal Response Program is responsible for periodically updating and providing new information as it becomes available to the TRP.
Please click for the TRP Public Record listings: http://crnative.org/trp-public-record/
Tribal Response Program Coordinator
Copper River Native Association