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The Department of Interior is investing $120 million in tribal communities to mitigate the effects of climate change, they announced on July 19.

Tribes can apply for the funding to either plan for or adapt to climate change related threats such as drought, wildfire, and coastal erosion.

Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) called the funding a “transformational commitment” to plan for and implement climate resilience measures, uphold trust and treaty responsibilities to tribal nations, and safeguard Indigenous lands for generations to come.

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“Devastating storms, increased drought and rapid sea-level rise disproportionately impact

Indigenous communities,” Haaland said in a statement. “Helping these communities remain on their homelands in the midst of these challenges is one of the most important climate related investments we could make in Indian Country.”

The $120 million includes $23 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, $72 million from the Inflation Reduction Act, and $25 million from fiscal year 2023 annual appropriations, according to the Interior Department. That amounts to the largest sum of annual funding made available to Tribes and Tribal organizations in the history of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Climate Annual Awards Program.

The funding also advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal that 40% of overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution and environmental hazards. 

The BIA will offer a grant writing workshop on July 26 followed by an educational webinar on August 2 to discuss the funding opportunity and explain how to apply for the grants.

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