FEMA Region VIII joined leaders from 17 tribes and representatives from 12 other federal agencies at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Denver January 18 in signing MOU 2000, a pledge by federal agencies to coordinate more closely on environmental protection issues in Indian Country.
Hotel staff scrambled to bring in additional chairs to accommodate the unexpectedly large crowd that gathered to watch the signing ceremony.
Tribal leaders from North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming formed a steering group along with key federal agency and tribal organizations to craft MOU 2000.
FEMA officials commended Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Bill Yellowtail and his deputy Jack McGraw, as well as the tribal leaders for their leadership and thanked them for inviting FEMAs participation.
After the signing, tribal representatives offered observations on MOU 2000 and advice on its implementation.
Key Features of MOU 2000
- A general agreement to further federal interagency collaboration and cooperation
- Establishes a process to annually solicit and jointly sponsor specific projects to improve environmental quality, pollution prevention and achieve compliance requirements
- Serves as a clearinghouse for projects and facilitates the appropriate mix of agencies to address projects
- Focus on tribal-initiated projects and activities to help build infrastructure and internal capacity for environmental protection
- Pool resources and funding to complete projects