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Oglala Sioux Tribe environmental director earns EPA 2003 Frank DeCouteau Award

Release Date: 6/11/2003
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      Denver – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 Regional Administrator Robert Roberts will present Kim Clausen-Jensen, director, Oglala Sioux Tribe Environmental Protection Program, with the Frank DeCouteau Award at the EPA awards ceremony being held at 1 p.m. tomorrow, June 12, at the Adam’s Mark Hotel, 1550 Court Place.

The Frank DeCouteau Award is being presented to Clausen-Jensen for her contributions in promoting solid waste disposal solutions and creating a system that is most protective of the people’s health and environment of the Pine Ridge Reservation, S.D. Through this award, the EPA recognizes Clausen-Jensen for her dedication to making this complex environmental protection project a success.

Her accomplishments are important in terms of environmental and public health protection, infrastructure improvements and for providing jobs for Tribal members. She demonstrated exceptional leadership, initiative and knowledge of complex disposal systems by developing the regulatory framework and codes to support the planning, development and implementation phase of the Tribe’s integrated solid waste management program.

She was directly involved in refining the Tribal infrastructure by developing a management team to ensure accountability for the satisfactory implementation of the Integrated Waste Management Plan; developing public outreach and education materials to inform Tribal members of the waste management initiatives; estimating and updating population data and solid waste generation data for the communities of the reservation to determine the scale of a new landfill facility; developing a recommended rate structure for commercial and household customers; reviewing and refining the Tribal Draft Solid Waste Code; securing EPA’s review of the Draft Code for refinement and finalization; developing the implementation for the Code, to include funding staffing and management; finalizing an assessment of underground storage tanks and leaking underground storage tank problems on the reservation and developing a corrective action plan; developing Codes which allowed or restricted certain types of activities and human uses within the restored Badlands Bombing Range; and implementing a Tribal Emergency Response Plan.

In addition, she coordinated the technical efforts with representatives from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the U.S. EPA, the Aberdeen Area Indian Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Rural Development in the Department of Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development.

She was instrumental in securing additional funding for a state-of-the-art landfill facility with a collection system to catch substances that might leach out of the landfill; a building that houses the Office of Solid Waste and a weight scale used to determine the volume of trash. She also obtained funding for a second building that houses heavy equipment such as semi-trucks, dozers, grazers, scrapers, loaders and graders needed for operation and maintenance of the landfill.

The Pine Ridge Reservation encompasses all or parts of Bennett, Jackson and Shannon counties in South Dakota, totaling nearly 2.8 million acres. The landfill and baling facility will serve 19 Tribal communities in Bennett County. The combined population to be served is more than 20,000 with an annual waste generation of 15,660 tons. EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response provided $561,000 of the nearly $3.48 million spent on planning, designing and constructing the landfill from September 1977 to September 2002.

The Regional Administrator presents awards in four external award categories to individuals and groups external to the Region Office. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to environmental protection or advancement by a Tribal staff employee or Tribal member, given in memory of Frank DeCouteau of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.