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 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.
Preliminary discussions have led one group to focus on addressing the problem of polluted runoff from the poultry farms in Delaware County; and another group is already focused on addressing the problem of methamphetamine pollution and particulate matter in Sequoyah County.
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.
In addition to the Cherokee Nation, the two federal agencies are working with 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.
More on the CARE program and its community projects is online.