RST BROWNFIELDS PROGRAM
PO BOX 910
ROSEBUD, SD 57570
Ph: (605) 747-2933
Fx: (605) 747-4227
In 1995, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Brownfields Program and has since then, grown into a principal nationwide plan of environmental restoration. In 2005 the Rosebud Sioux Tribe began a Tribal Brownfields Response Program funded by grant monies allocated to create and implement environmental awareness and restoration efforts on the Rosebud Indian Reservation and surrounding Tribal lands in adjacent counties. A Brownfield is defined as "real property being inactive, discarded, and scarcely used manufacturing and business facilities where growth or restoration is difficult by actual or suspected environmental contamination". Brownfields can be almost anywhere and anything that includes underground storage tanks, methamphetamine labs, abandoned or under used buildings, and especially illegal open dumps.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency State and tribal response programs play a significant role in cleaning up Brownfields. As congress recognized in the legislative history of the Brownfields Law, "The vast majority of contaminated sites across the nation will be cleaned up under State authority." Prior to the passage of the Brownfields Law, EPA developed a framework for negotiations between EPA regions and states regarding State Voluntary Cleanup Programs. This preliminary framework was the precursor to how EPA works with states and tribes today.
The EPA also states that the continued for Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment in communities throughout the country, coupled with increasingly limited state and tribal resources, makes access to federal funding critical. The law authorized EPA to provide up to $50 million in grants to states and tribes to establish or enhance their response programs. Generally, these response programs address assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of Brownfields. This funding will enable states and tribes to develop or enhance their response program's infrastructure and capabilities. For some recipients, the funding will provide an opportunity to create new response programs to address contaminated properties. States and tribes also can use the new funding to capitalize a revolving fund for cleanup, purchase environmental insurance, or develop other insurance mechanisms to provide financing for cleanup activities. In addition, the funds can be used to establish or maintain statutorily required public record, to oversee cleanups, and to conduct site-specific activities. EPA provides financial assistance to states and tribes, which increase their capacity to meet the Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment challenges. It will also help to ensure that properties are cleaned up safely, according to state and tribal standards.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe Brownfields Program continues to push forward in the identification of potential brownfield sites, establishing an up-to-date inventory, and coordinating cleanup efforts in order to protect the environment and natural resources in Indian country. The following is a list of goals that the RST Brownfield Program is attempting to achieve with the funding that has been granted to the program:
Continue to identify potential Brownfields sites
Maintain the current inventory
Conduct additional Household Hazardous Waste Collection events
Assist in the development of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Solid Waste Codes
Continue to hold outreach meetings with stakeholders and continued development of outreach materials
Enhance the Response Program or Cleanup Capacity through additional training available for technicians.
The Office of Water Resources Brownfields Program is continuously looking for funding opportunities to assist in completing the short-term and long-term goals that have been identified through the program. For more information about the Brownfields Program contact Program Technician Alex Swalley III at the Office of Water Resources in Rosebud, SD at (605) 747-2559.
In May of 2007 the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Brownfields Program conducted a Household Hazardous Waste Collection event, through a Hazardous Waste Grant that was offered through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This event was a huge success, with Clean Harbors a company from Minnesota as the only qualified bidder for the event. Clean Harbor specializes in the collection and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. The Household Hazardous Waste Collection event proved to be a huge success covering various areas in and around the surrounding communities and one local High School.
During the month of November 2007 the Brownfields Program was involved and led the efforts to clean up three (3) illegal dumpsites located near the communities of Okreek, Swift Bear, and White River. These sites were cleaned up by an open dump grant awarded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The pictures below are indicative of the sites that are often found in various areas that have accumulated over the years. As you can see the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Brownfields Program continues to make every effort available with the funding that it receives to make a positive impact on the surrounding environment.
For more information pertaining to the brownfield program please contact Field Technician Mr. Alex Swalley or Assistant Field Technician Mr. Ivan Crow Eagle or visit http://www.epa.gov/brownfields