The Department of the Interior Releases Funds to Address the Unique Impacts of Climate Change in Tribal Communities

By Barbara M.R. Marvin

May 11, 2022 | Client Alerts
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The Department of the Interior has announced that it is setting aside funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act to assist Indian Tribes in building climate resilience. A total of $466 million, which includes funding for climate resilience and replacing aging infrastructure, will be made available to the BIA over five years, with $216 million of that total to be awarded for climate resilience programs. On April 11, the Department announced that the BIA’s Tribal Climate Resilience (TCR) Branch has released initial funding of $46 million under the Bipartisan Infrastructure law and fiscal year 2022 appropriations.

These investments are intended to advance the Biden Administration’s equity and environmental justice goals and help safeguard vulnerable Tribal communities.  As Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, recognized the environmental necessity in announcing the availability of the funds.

As the effects of climate change continue to intensify, Tribal communities are facing unique climate-related challenges that pose existential threats to Tribal economies, infrastructure, lives and livelihoods. Coastal communities are facing flooding, erosion, permafrost subsidence, sea level rise, and storm surges, while inland communities are facing worsening drought and extreme heat. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic investments in Tribal communities will help bolster community resilience, replace aging infrastructure, and provide support needed for climate-related community-driven relocation and adaptation.

TCR is currently accepting proposals from Tribes and Tribal organizations in 13 different categories related to climate adaptation, ocean and coastal management, community relocation, managed retreat, or protect-in-placeefforts, and internships and youth engagement.

More information about the current Request for Proposals is available at TCR’s Annual Awards Program site page,Annual Awards Program | Indian Affairs (bia.gov) or at ECO Opps, https://sciencebase.usgs.gov/eco-opps/#/. The deadline for submissions is July 6, 2022. For questions regarding this client alert, or for assistance in advising on or securing grant funds or submitting proposals, please contact Lippes Mathias’ Indian law Practice Team or Environment & Energy Team, Michael Rossetti @ mrossetti@lippes.com, Carol Heckman@ checkman@lippes.com, Ian Shavitz at ishavitz@lippes.com, Barbara M. R. Marvin at bmarvin@lippes.com, or Christina Bonanni @cbonanni@lippes.com
 
 
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