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EPA and Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians host Tribal conference

Release Date: 10/22/2003
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians today kicked-off the 11th annual Pacific Southwest EPA Tribal Conference in Temecula, Calif.

The conference, which is being held at the Pechanga Resort and Casino, will highlight the numerous environmental accomplishments tribes have made in the Pacific Southwest in recent years.

Tribes have improved drinking water for 13,000 tribal homes throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. In addition, tribes have set up 43 monitoring stations on tribal lands to measure air pollution, assessed the impact of contaminated runoff from abandoned mines and cleaned up dozens of open dump sites.

"We are proud to be a part of the tribes' successful efforts at protecting and restoring their natural resources, the environment and public health," said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator for the EPA's Pacific Southwest office.

"For generations, tribal leaders have fought to protect our natural heritage," said Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. "As the original stewards of our great nation, our land, water, and air are all sacred to us. We are honored that EPA will host its annual tribal conference at Pechanga."

This year's conference also falls near the 10th anniversary of the General Assistance Program, the EPA's largest program aimed at helping tribal governments protect their environments. Over the last decade, the EPA has partnered with 90 percent of Southwestern tribes to protect tribal communities from environmental threats.

This year alone the EPA is providing more than $9.7 million in environmental program grants to tribal governments and coalitions in California. The agency= s GAP program will also provide roughly $3.1 million and $2.9 million, respectively, to Arizona and Nevada tribal governments and coalitions.

For more information on the conference visit: