Southern NM & Western U.S. Dust Symposium
October 25 – 27 | Register Here
The purpose of this symposium is to ultimately answer one question: “Are opportunities to apply dust research being missed?” Federal, state, and local agencies create policies for clean and healthy air, which benefit from both national and international research. However, difficulties arise in translating research results into policy. This symposium will attempt to bridge the gap between research and applications into policymaking that results in tangible public benefits. Topics on the agenda include dust and PM10 mitigation issues in Southern New Mexico and beyond; dust impacts on environmental quality, transportation safety, and public health; and the state of-the-science in airborne dust research. This symposium focuses on windblown dust in the southwestern U.S. and North America, but with a global context. Contact Armando Paz (Armando.Paz@state.nm.us) and William Sprigg (firstname.lastname@example.org) for questions.
Applications for EPA’s Clean Air Excellence Awards are Now Being Accepted!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting applications for the 2022 Clean Air Excellence Awards Program. Through this program, EPA recognizes and honors individuals and organizations whose efforts have helped to make progress in achieving cleaner air. The award recipients are selected for developing innovative, replicable, and sustainable programs; serving as pioneers in their fields; and improving air quality either directly or indirectly through reduced emissions of criteria pollutants, hazardous air pollutants, and/or greenhouse gases.
The five award categories are:
- Clean Air Technology
- Community Action
- State/Tribal/Local Air Quality Policy Innovations
- Transportation Efficiency Innovations.
The award application and more information are available here. Applications must be emailed or postmarked by Tuesday, November 30, 2021. Applicants are strongly encouraged to send their entries electronically to OAR_Clean_Air_Excellence_Awards@epa.gov.
EPA releases new report on Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States: A Focus on Six Impacts
EPA’s new report quantifies the degree to which four socially vulnerable populations— defined based on income, educational attainment, race and ethnicity, and age—may be more exposed to the highest impacts of climate change. The report quantifies six types of impacts: air quality and health, extreme temperature and health, extreme temperature and labor, coastal flooding and traffic, coastal flooding and property, and inland flooding and property. Access the report. To download the report’s findings related to the disproportionate risks of climate change to American Indian and Alaska Natives. To find more information about climate change: https://www.epa.gov/climate-change
The Tribal Air Monitoring Support (TAMS) Center is announcing a call for nominations for an open position on the TAMS Steering Committee.
This position will complete a term that was recently vacated. This term will end in September 2024. The Nomination Form can be found on the TAMS website link below. The deadline to submit a nomination is November 1., 2021. Please contact the TAMS Center ITEP Program Manager or EPA Codirector for any questions. Click here for more information!
Host Sites Needed For Summer Internship Program
The Institute for Tribal Environmental at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona is seeking air quality focused offices and programs to host a college student for an 8-week summer internship. Tribal environmental offices, EPA offices, and other tribal environmental organizations are encouraged to apply.
The interns will be highly motivated undergraduate or graduate students majoring in environmental or related careers from different colleges and universities nationwide. ITEP provides each student intern with a $4,800 stipend, and housing and travel allowances for interns that relocate. The host site provides a work-place and supervision for the intern. Some internships may be virtual. You are welcome to submit applications for both virtual projects and in-person projects.
The projects MUST focus on addressing air quality issues in tribal communities.
Submit an application online here
Deadline: Apply by December 3, 2021
NTAA Upcoming Calls
Contact Andy.Bessler@nau.edu if you have any questions about any call! *Registration instructions* When you register for the GoToWebinar, please remember to include your Tribe, Region, or Organization in parenthesis after your last name. This allows you to see everyone on the call and prevents us from conducting a roll-call, ultimately saving everyone’s time.
|EPA Policy Call: Call in to hear updates from EPA on policies, actions, and tools relevant to Indian Country and Air Quality. Attend by clicking here.||Thursday, October 28, 2pm ET|
|Mobile Sources Work Group: This monthly work group addresses all mobile source pollution issues. Attend by clicking here.||Thursday, November 4, 2pm ET|
|Wood Smoke Work Group: Join this work group every other month to address wood smoke issues in Indian Country. Attend by clicking here.||Thursday, November 18,
|Indoor Air Quality Work Group: Join this work group every other month to help support IAQ work throughout Indian Country. Attend by clicking here.||Thursday, December 16, 2pm ET|
The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professional (ITEP)
Click here for ITEP’s new Tribal Environmental Management and Planning Online Courses. Sign up for a self-paced course hosted by ITEP’s Waste and Response and Tribal Air Quality programs. New courses have been added, so check it out!
ITEP’s American Indian Air Quality Training Program (AIAQTP) hosts the Building Performance: Improving IAQ in Cold Climates, Residential Building Science Review, Radon Fundamentals, Quality Assurance Fundamental, Writing a Quality Assurance Project Plan, Emissions Inventory Fundamentals, and Emissions Inventory Advanced.
Looking for more information check out the Tribal Air Quality Media Space Channel. Recent webinars include an Introduction to Air Quality Programs, Emissions Inventories, Remote Professional Assistance, and Woodstoves in Indian Country. Older classics include a series on Air Quality Planning for Wildland Smoke, Tribal Air Program and Grants, Data Management, and the Clean Air Act.
ITEP’s Tribes and Climate Change Calendar includes conferences, trainings, webinars, and other events related to tribes and climate change.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is excited to announce an upcoming virtual listening session focused on climate change and Tribal youth.
Information and registration for this listening session may be found on the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Tribal Climate Resilience (TCR) webpage.
This listening session is open to Tribal middle school, high school, and college students. This is an opportunity to voice your concerns, priorities, and experience to help shape policies and programs that promote and advance Tribal climate resilience.
2021 Tribal Energy Webinar Series: Energy Projects and Workforce Development: A Win-Win Opportunity: October 27
Energy projects are often labor-intensive during construction—and once they are complete, local capability is needed to operate and maintain those energy systems. Tribes who develop a local workforce in conjunction with developing projects can realize improved project economics while creating local jobs and skilled labor.
This webinar will explore this win-win opportunity. Register now.
US EPA Announces Upcoming Climate and Energy Webinars for State, Local, and Tribal Governments
The US EPA announces there will be many webinars on climate and energy topics offered by federal agencies and others during the month of October. All webinars are free of charge, but space may be limited or require registration in advance. For more information subscribe to the US EPA’s State and Local Energy Newsletter.
ITEP’s Climate Change Adaptation Training Courses registration is online!
FDA has a stop use recommendation list of the products. We will also share it with schools so they can choose a safe sanitizer.
EPA’s 2021 School Bus Rebates Applications Being Accepted Two Separate School Bus Rebate Programs Deadline to Apply – November 5 (4:00 p.m. ET).
EPA is excited to announce two funding opportunities for school bus fleets that serve public schools: the 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) Electric School Bus Rebates, and the 2021 DERA School Bus Rebate Program. EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality is accepting applications nationwide for rebates to assist in replacing older, dirtier diesel school buses with new school buses. Please take a look at the descriptions below to learn more about each opportunity and visit the new 2021 ARP Electric School Bus Rebates website for a table showing the differences between the two rebate programs. 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) Electric School Bus Rebates for Underserved School Districts
The newest program is the 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) Electric School Bus Rebates. This $7 million program exclusively funds the replacement of old diesel school buses with new electric school buses for underserved school districts, tribal schools, and private fleets serving those schools. A list of eligible school districts is available on the 2021 ARP Electric School Bus Rebates website. Please check the list to see if you qualify for this new funding opportunity. This new program will offer $300,000 per bus for up to four electric school bus replacements for eligible applicants selected in a lottery process.
The recent additions to OTAQ’s website in September 2021. You can access these additions as well as new press releases and Federal Register notices related to OTAQ on our website.
- September 29, 2021: EPA Opens Two Rebate Programs: The 2021 DERA School Bus Rebates, and the new 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) Electric School Bus Rebateswith applications due by November 5.
- September 23, 2021: EPA Releases Travel Efficiency User Guide to evaluate the potential of on-road travel efficiency strategies to change travel behavior and reduce criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions.
- September 15, 2021: EPA Releases Case Study on Air Pollution Reductions for the New York/New Jersey Harbor Deepening Project.
NEW! Outdoor Air Affects Indoor Air, Especially During Wildfires: Take
Steps to Protect Your Indoor Air Quality!
|During a wildfire, smoke can make the outdoor air unhealthy to breathe. Local officials may advise you to stay indoors during a smoke event. You should be aware that some of the smoke from outdoors can enter your home and make it unhealthy to breathe indoor air, too.|
|There are things you can do, such as staying indoors with the doors and windows closed and filtering the air indoors to reduce your family’s exposure to smoke. Reducing exposure to smoke is important for everyone’s health — especially children, older adults, and people with heart or lung disease. See our webpage on Wildfires and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) for steps you can take to reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke inside your home.|
- New Research on DIY Air Cleaners to Reduce Wildfire Smoke Indoors– also see guidance below!
- Wildfire Smoke Employer Training Checklistsfor employee safety in OR and WA
- Updated EPA webpage on Emergencies and Indoor Air Quality: Includes tips on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from weather-related and man-made emergencies and disasters that affect indoor environments, including Wildfires, Volcanic Eruptions, and Dust Storms, Power Outages, Hurricanes and Flooding, Extreme Heat, Snow and Ice, Earthquakes
- Two books for Indigenous Youth on COVID-19: Our Smallest Warriors, Our Strongest Medicine, developed by Tribes and partners at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (these are really well done – order copies here)
- New interagency hosted ed.gov website– inventory of resources promoting healthy school environments
- Host sites needed for tribal air quality summer internship program– The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals is seeking air quality focused offices and programs to host a college student for an 8-week summer internship. Tribal environmental offices, EPA offices, and other tribal environmental organizations are encouraged to apply by 12/3/21.
- 2021 State of Our Schools Reportfrom the 21st Century School Fund, the International WELL Building Institute, and the National Council on School Facilities released
- Consumer warning from FDA:Consumers that use of the Max-Lux Safe-T-Lite UV WAND may expose the user or any nearby person to unsafe levels of ultraviolet-C radiation and may cause injury to the skin, eyes, or both after a few seconds of use. Consumers may use the wand to try to disinfect surfaces and kill germs in the home or similar spaces. The FDA recommends that consumers consider using safer alternative disinfection methods.
If You Use DIY Air Cleaners, Use Them Safely During Wildfire Smoke Events
Picture of a filter attached to a box fan to create a DIY Box Fan Filter
If portable air cleaners are not available or affordable, you may decide to use do-it-yourself (DIY) air cleaners as a temporary alternative to commercial air cleaners. DIY air cleaners are made by attaching a furnace filter to a box fan with tape, brackets, or a bungee cord. There may be drawbacks to using a DIY air cleaner as compared to a commercial air cleaner such as:
- Increased noise and heat generation from the fan motor.
- Limited data on how well DIY air cleaners filter smoke particles.
If you use a DIY air cleaner, it is probably most effective in a small room where you spend a significant amount of time, such as a bedroom. For better filtration, choose a high-efficiency filter, preferably rated MERV 13 or higher, and align the arrows on the filter with the direction of the air flow through the fan. Try to get a good seal between the fan and the filter.
For more information on the testing and research by EPA, visit Research on DIY Air Cleaners to Reduce Wildfire Smoke Indoors. The web page includes frequently asked questions and safety tips for using DIY air cleaners and other resources to protect public health from wildfire smoke.
For more information on how to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke inside the home, visit Wildfires and Indoor Air Quality.
Improving Environmental Health in Schools White Paper
The authors of this white paper are environmental health academics who recognize the importance of in-school education. However, we also understand that infectious disease transmission in schools is an existential challenge affecting the health of local communities and ultimately, society at large. We have extensive experience implementing environmental improvements both before and during the current pandemic. We wish to persuade the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the lead Agency for protecting human health and the environment, that now is the time to revive and expand their School Integrated Pest Management (SIPM) initiative to improve environmental health in schools and document the tangible benefits that follow.
Need Temporary Power? Use Caution with Portable Generators! Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
During power outages, portable generators can be used to help temporarily restore power to a few key appliances like refrigerators, lights and fans. Portable generators that use fuels such as gasoline, natural gas or kerosene are widely available. However, if they are not used correctly they can be hazardous because their exhaust contains deadly fumes, like carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas you cannot see or smell but could kill you in minutes.
- Do use portable generators outside and far away from buildings.
- Do not use portable generators under any of the following conditions:
- inside your house or garage
- on balconies or near doors, vents or windows, and
- near where anyone is sleeping.
U.S. Department of Education Encourages Use of American Rescue Plan Funds to Improve Ventilation and IAQ in Schools
Indoor air quality is critical to reopening schools safely and keeping them open. The U.S. Department of Education has released new guidance encouraging the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to improve ventilation systems and make other indoor air quality improvements in schools to prevent the spread of COVID- 19 and tackle longstanding school ventilation improvement needs. The new Department of Education guidance highlights EPA resources to support investments in improved ventilation and indoor air quality. Use the following resources from EPA to supplement the information in the guidance:
- Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Visit this page for the latest guidance on best indoor air practices to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- Ventilation and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Ventilation is an important approach to lowering concentrations of indoor air pollutants, including viruses. Increase the ventilation in your school with outdoor air when possible.
- Air Cleaners, HVAC filters, and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Air cleaners and HVAC filters can help to reduce viruses and pollutants in the air. Consider upgrading the HVAC filters in your system and using safe, effective portable air cleaners to supplement HVAC filtration. Note: Do
not use air cleaners that intentionally generate ozone in occupied spaces.
- Implementing a Layered Approach to Address COVID-19 in Public Indoor Spaces: A layered risk reduction approach is best to limit airborne transmission of COVID-19 – learn how to combine increased ventilation and filtration with other CDC recommendations, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
Wildfire Smoke and Indoor Air Quality
This summer, wildfires have spread across the U.S. creating devastation and dangerous smoke events affecting millions of American lives. If you are in need of immediate wildfire guidance, see EPA’s wildfire webpage for more resources.
Smoke from wildfires can adversely affect indoor air quality and put people’s health at risk from exposure to particulate matter and other pollutants. Read on to learn more about:
- How Indoor airPLUS Homes Protect Against the Harmful Effects of Wildfire Smoke
- Reduce Exposure to Wildfire Smoke Inside the Home
- Additional Resources
How Indoor airPLUS Homes Help Reduce the Occurrence of Asthma Triggers in the Home. Here are ways an Indoor airPLUS home can help reduce asthma triggers in the home.
Be sure to subscribe to CodeTalk, HUD’s Office of Native American Programs newsletter, for webinars and opportunities!