TAHLEQUAH, Okla.-Three Cherokee Nation employees have been honored with Environmental Excellence Awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their environmental protection efforts as part of their work with the tribe.
Jason White, Jerrid Diffee and Tabbatha Revas all received the awards from the EPA's regional office in Dallas. White serves on the national Superfund Subcommittee of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology. Diffee and Revas both were nominated for their participation and contribution to the tribal Clean Water Act Work Group this past year.
"We are very proud of the efforts these employees have put forth in their work of helping protect the environment," said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. "Protecting our natural resources has always been an important part of Cherokee culture, and we appreciate the work these individuals have done."
"Receiving the Environmental Excellence Award is a compliment to our programs and our staff's high level of commitment to environmental protection. This year's award recognizes the outstanding work achieved through our Superfund and water monitoring programs which I feel is a reflection of our level of progress achieved in the various environmental media programs," said Nancy John, Director of Environmental Programs.
LaDonna Turner, EPA Superfund Project Officer, nominated White for his "superior performance and commitment to the Superfund mission throughout Indian Country." He was nominated and supported by many tribes across the country to serve on this advisory committee for the EPA.
"This award celebrates the accomplishments of Cherokee Nation's Environmental Programs. I have had the opportunity to work with tribes and EPA into incorporating tribal life ways into the hazardous ranking system that EPA uses to rank Superfund sites. I have also had the opportunity to work with EPA to include risk assessments that will consider tribal life ways when determining risk to tribal citizens. This is extremely important since Cherokee Nation is impacted by three Superfund sites and our office has conducted over 15 site assessment projects" said White.
EPA Water program staff recognized Diffee and Revas for their efforts in assisting EPA resolve tribal concerns with funding and programmatic criteria. Their work and participation will assist many tribes with water quality monitoring efforts throughout Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana. The pair was active in the development of workgroups to address development of feedback from the EPA and tribes
"These individuals are dedicated professionals committed to protecting Cherokee Nation's natural resources, the environment and the health of the Tribal citizens. I'm proud of them and our entire staff for their willingness to share their technical expertise on a regional and national level throughout Indian Country," John said.