NAU’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals has been awarded a five-year, $8 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to continue its two decades of work supporting air quality program development on Native American reservations.

Since its launch in 1992, ITEP has provided air quality capacity-building assistance to environmental staff from more than 450 tribes through its American Indian Air Quality Training Program.

The five-year grant renewal will fund ITEP’s comprehensive program of training courses, onsite support, webinars, technical assistance and internships. The funds also will support an annual national tribal air-quality forum where hundreds of individuals attend to learn new skills and advance policy objectives.

Additionally, ITEP, in partnership with the EPA and numerous tribes, maintains a satellite office called the Tribal Air Monitoring Support Center, where technical assistance is offered and training is performed.

ITEP Group photo

The staff of ITEP offers a variety of resources relating to Native American tribes, air quality and other environmental issues.

“This collaborative partnership is seen as a model partnership between federal agencies, academia and tribes,” said Mehrdad Khatibi, ITEP’s director. “A steering committee of tribal representatives works directly with ITEP and the EPA staff to prioritize training and technical assistance needs to meet the challenges faced by tribes nationwide.”

Grant monies also will help fund outreach to Native American students of all ages. Programs in tribal schools will raise awareness of air quality and public health issues. Undergraduate and graduate-level students at NAU and other institutions will be offered internships at EPA and tribal environmental offices across the country.

In addition to its air-related work with tribes, ITEP also maintains tribally focused programs on environmental workforce training, solid waste management, emergency response and sustainable-energy development.

Information is available online.