09142022 EPA Lisa Garcia and SRMT Environment Division
09142022 EPA Lisa Garcia and SRMT Environment Division

Environment Division Awarded $302,546 EPA Pollution Prevention Grant

Sep 14, 2022

AKWESASNE -- The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s (SRMT) Environment Division continues to strengthen and expand its longstanding efforts to protect Akwesasne’s natural resources for the coming generations. Their decades-worth of environmental programs and services, which are the largest of any tribal organization across the country, was recently bolstered with a $302,546 Pollution Prevention Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“I am happy to announce that the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe will receive funding to help develop a better way to manage and handle road salt, which has posed a problem on the nation’s lands,” said Lisa F. Garcia, EPA Regional Administrator. “It is always better to prevent pollution before it happens and that is exactly what these types of grants aim to accomplish.”

The Pollution Prevention (P2) Grant is new funding for SRMT’s Environment Division and will provide technical assistance, services, and training for Akwesasne businesses on methods to reduce or eliminate pollution from the air, water, or land. The new grant will be specifically used to work in partnership with individuals and businesses on P2 practices for snow and ice removal and management, which will contribute to the reduction of roadway salt contamination in the environment and its resulting impact on human health.

The grant proposal was coordinated and submitted by Assistant Director Les Benedict, who has become accustomed to identifying and securing new funding to support environmental work during his more than 32 years with the Tribe’s Environment Division. Since his start as an Air Quality Technician in June 1990; Les has been successful at securing grants in the areas of the Clean Water Act, Hazardous Waste Management, Lead Hazard Reduction, and Pollution Prevention, to name just a few that were recently funded.

Les said the P2 grant is notable however, as it allows environmental technicians to work in collaboration with local businesses to adopt pollution prevention practices that address a growing concern -- road salt contamination. He says that, “Road salt is widely used in snow belt regions and its use has doubled since 1975, causing environmental damage to reach unacceptable levels. Its applied to paved surfaces and pollutes the environment as runoff. This grant will allow us to provide training and develop cooperative efforts to avoid its overapplication.”

The services and workshops funded by the P2 grant removes barriers that previously limited access to technical assistance for snow and ice management. It will provide access to engineering services, information, and tools to facilitate informed decision making in the utilization of road salt. It will promote economically advantageous practices, assess storage and handling, and provide training on its application in a manner that supports efforts to preserve native plants found along roadways that are effective in storing greenhouse gas and exhaust pollution.

“The best means to protect and preserve the biodiversity that exists in the environment is through a shared approach that empowers local businesses to develop and implement preventive measures,” shared SRMT Environment Division Director Tony David. David added, “Les deserves recognition for helping expand the Environment Division’s services by continually seeking new funding opportunities. He has been working diligently to submit successful proposals, such as the P3 grant that helps increase understanding on the need to adopt best practices, while decreasing snow and ice management costs for local businesses.”

PHOTO CAPTION: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Lisa Garcia announced the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Environment Division the recipient of a $302,546 Pollution Prevention (P2) grant to address water contamination due to road salt. Pictured are (from left) Environment Division Assistant Director Les Benedict, EPA Regional Administrator Lisa Garcia, and Environment Division Director Tony David.


The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.