Fed announces $406,482 grant for air pollution monitoring on Cheyenne River Reservation

Largest investment for community air monitoring in EPA history funded by President Biden’s Climate and Economic Plans

EAGLE BUTTE, SD (November 3, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected The Keya Foundation to receive funding to conduct community air quality monitoring on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. The grant is one of 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states that will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. 

“This funding will help address air quality information gaps in and near underserved communities on the Cheyenne River Reservation, building tribal capacity and providing community members with more data about the air they breathe” said EPA Regional Administrator, KC Becker. “The data this project produces will help the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal community more closely evaluate potential pollution concerns and opportunities to address them.” 

Today’s announcement includes $406,482 in funding for The Keya Foundation, located in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River Reservation, to conduct air monitoring for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), including trace metals, and mercury vapor in and around the communities of Eagle Butte, Timber Lake, and Cherry Creek, South Dakota. Tribal members will provide direct input to monitoring location selection, and field sampling will be conducted by local Native American student interns. Data from the project will be presented to stakeholders and interested parties through community-led workshops.

The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments. 

These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts.  By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.

EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.