Overview of the Northern Cheyenne Climate Project

Respect Our Homeland Sign In early 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $200,000 to the  Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana to advance greenhouse gas reduction activities as  part of the Agency’s Climate Showcase Community Initiative.  The Climate Showcase  grant was very competitive with approximately 490 grant application. The Tribe is  among 25 U.S. communities receiving grants for projects designed to reduce  greenhouse gases.

The EPA funding will help communities increase energy efficiency, saving consumers money and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

“These communities see the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change  and are working with EPA to fight back,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.    “We’re working on innovative, win-win strategies that reduce greenhouse gases  and cut energy bills for families and businesses—strategies that can be put in  place to fight climate change in communities from Utah and Ohio to China and  India.”

The Northern Cheyenne Tribal Environment Department has partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to transform selected buildings on the reservation into an energy-efficiency demonstration and training project. The goal of this project is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and reduce total energy use on the reservation while creating an opportunity to train Northern Cheyenne tribal college students and community members in energy efficiency and building retrofitting skills.

A broad range of techniques will be used to improve the buildings, including retrofits and green power projects. The tribe will start by retrofitting and installing green power on its Tribal Environmental Department building. The plan calls for the installation of solar panels, on demand water heaters, insulation, as well as the sealing of windows, doors, roofs, siding, ceilings and floors. Ten to twenty Northern Cheyenne tribal college students and community members will participate in a series of trainings covering energy audits, energy efficiency, and small scale renewable energy production, and will perform actual work on the building as part of field training. The tribe’s goal is to reduce the building’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 tons per year. After completing retrofits to the Environmental Department building, students will perform audits and develop retrofit plans for other tribal buildings.  The Tribe plans to work with other Tribes in Montana to help them develop and implement similar energy efficiency and weatherization projects.

Training Tribal community members will increase knowledge about reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency, energy conservation, and weatherization, help to increase the graduation rate of Tribal members, and to increase the economic opportunities on a reservation plagued with high unemployment rates. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this project will also generate much-needed financial savings on energy bills so that the saved Tribal resources can be reallocated from building operation to direct services programming for Tribal members and families.

For more information, please contact Alexis Bonogofsky with the National Wildlife Federation, 406-698-4720 or bonogofsky@nwf.org .

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About Alexis Bonogofsky

Tribal Lands Senior Coordinator National Wildlife Federation
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