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Tribes meet on plans for reservation clean-up project

Apr 16, 2017 From staff reports

The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes have come together for a clean up initiative they're calling "Honor the Earth."

Business council members of both tribes and local reservation residents have targeted focus areas for their plans. They met last week to discuss their concerns and how to move forward. They will hold additional meetings.

They listed illegal dump sites their number one priority including the 17 Mile Road transfer site and its surrounding area. The Fort Washakie and Ethete transfer sites will also need to be cleaned up and maintained, organizers said.

Participants of the initiative are also pin pointing tribal solid waste operations. They are considering waiving fees for customers until clean-up is complete. They would also like to keep the Crowheart, Fort Washakie and Ethete transfer sites open 24 hours a day. They would like for their workers to focus on clean up and disposal of wall waste within the enclosed transfer site.

The tribal governments plan to complete assessments at the dump sites, determine a work and cost estimate for clean-up, determine what tribal resources are available to help offset the clean-up work costs and also want to bid out work not covered by tribal resources.

Ultimately, they're looking to build partnerships with other local governments to determine available waste disposal resources such as equipment usage and waiving of fees.

The tribes have found community outreach and involvement to be a major part of the process. They'd like to recruit existing community groups to health such as youth or advocacy programs. They plan to promote their initiative in hopes of gaining support. Plans include major clean-up events to encourage the community to join and help.

They hope to spread their message," Honor the Earth keep it clean" by informing the public with details on fines, penalties, surveillance areas, and displaying images of what the dump sites look like. They would also list proper disposal sites and practices for the public.

The tribes also hope to increase enforcement on littering, cleaning, solid waste disposal and other practices that can improve the community.

Law enforcement can increase their duties in watching over sites, housing areas, and other busy locations. They plan to coordinate and release an enforcement plan and will revise their ordinances related to solid waste and littering.

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