Oregon, Washington set to receive more than $1 million in pollution prevention grants

Oregon and Washington are set to receive more than one million dollars in pollution prevention grants.
Published: Oct. 12, 2023 at 7:24 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Oregon and Washington are set to receive more than one million dollars in pollution prevention grants.

A portion of those funds will be coming to Portland State University to help tribal communities across the state.

The EPA and PSU are teaming up to reduce pollution and exposure to toxins in tribal communities.

It’s being supported by a two-year grant for more than $700,000 from the bipartisan infrastructure law. It will be split evenly within three groups; Northwest American Chamber, Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council and PSU.

“We work a lot in the community already doing a lot of waste reduction which is part of a healthy community, but this gives us an opportunity to reduce common pollutants that are in our everyday environments that we don’t always know we’re being exposed to,” said Christa McDermott at PSU.

Funds will go towards putting in place new technologies and supply chains to create greener and more sustainable environments for tribal owned businesses.

“With casinos where there’s a lot of cleaning products being used and they’re also an indoor environment so their indoor air quality concerns,” said McDermott. “Transition to say for cleaning products like for carpets general purpose, cleaners there’s a safer choice alternative.”

Serina Fasthorse says she works in land restoration within indigenous communities and says chemicals are being released that often affect their food system.

“What we’re facing is our plant communities not being able to thrive real well in this drier, hotter climate conditions. those are our traditional foods and medicines they’re struggling to survive so our access to them is even dwindling even more,” said Fasthorse.

Students at PSU will be a part of the change.

“Our students all work for us so we provide a job and also professional development in these areas of sustainability,” she said. “So there’s a research component as well as a practical implementation and outreach component.”