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K-State's Center for Hazardous Substance Research to receive $4M EPA grant to assist tribal nations

Friday, May 17, 2024

MANHATTAN — The Center for Hazardous Substance Research at Kansas State University will receive a $4 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to expand its Technical Assistance to Brownfields, or TAB, program to better assist tribal nations and affiliated entities.

K-State’s Center for Hazardous Substance Research, or CHSR, currently serves as a national hub for the TAB program and received $23 million in funding from the EPA in August 2023 to bolster the group’s efforts to revitalize environmentally distressed properties. This new funding, which will be dispersed over the next five years, will increase the assistance available specifically for tribal nations.

The TAB program focuses on properties, known as brownfields, that are often underutilized or blighted pieces of land that are not chosen for redevelopment for a variety of reasons, including potential or actual environmental contamination.

The Tribal TAB program will provide technical assistance, various resources, practical tools and a meaningful network of peers, mentors and subject-matter experts to tribal nations and entities for successfully addressing brownfields, building strong Tribal Response Programs and enhancing self-governance opportunities.

Through a core partnership between K-State, Northern Arizona University’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Tribal TAB supports communities in protecting and restoring sacred lands and accomplishing revitalization goals while also facilitating knowledge exchange, cultivating local capacity and engaging next-generation tribal professionals.

Oral Saulters, program director at CHSR and national director of the Tribal TAB program, will lead the team working on this grant. Blase Leven, Margaret Belanger, Jennifer Clancey, Michael Hartnett, and Cynthia Annett, all from CHSR, are serving as co-principal investigators on the project.

"Through its innovative collaboration, Tribal TAB will increase technical, administrative and financial capacity within tribal communities," Saulters said. "The program also includes integrated training and education while transforming brownfields sites and supporting cultural resilience."

The TAB program operates through the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering and collaborates with a variety of K-State departments to achieve its goals, including the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning, as well as K-State Engineering Extension.

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Center for Hazardous Substance Research

Written by

Grant Guggisberg