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Cherokee Nation part of new EPA community support initiative


The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma will take part in a new community-based health protection and education initiative sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson and CDC Director Julie Gerberding signed a formal memorandum of understanding today that will enable both agencies to better support efforts by local governments.

“EPA and CDC are joining forces to help local communities advance their environmental and public health protection efforts,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “By capitalizing on the strengths of our agencies, we will assist the Cherokee Nation and our other partners in addressing their local environmental challenges by providing resources, tools and expertise.”

Various communities within the 14 counties in northeast Oklahoma that make up the Cherokee Nation are collaborating to identify sources of toxic exposure and improve the environment. In addition, the Cherokee Nation works in collaboration with the Cherokee Nation Clinics and Indian Health Service Hospitals to provide screening and early detection in breast and cervical cancer.

Both CDC and EPA have long been providing support to local organizations and governments dealing with complex, localized environmental health issues, such as lead-based paint in homes, brownfields and pollution-induced asthma. Through today’s memorandum, EPA and CDC will make it easier for communities to access financial and technical resources to tackle their unique environmental and public health problems.

In addition to the Cherokee Nation, EPA and CDC are piloting three other communities in Boston, Massachusetts; Cerro Gordo, Iowa; and Savannah, Georgia. All four pilot communities are part of EPA’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program, a $4 million competitive grant and technical assistance program to support community-based education and public health protection projects across the country.


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