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Biden-Harris Administration Invests $120 Million to Help Tribes Build Climate Resilience, as part of President's Investing in America agenda

SHELBYVILLE, Mich.— Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today announced the availability of $120 million in new funding supported by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help Tribal communities prepare for the most severe climate-related environmental threats to their homelands. The funding can be used by Tribes to plan for, adapt to, or respond to these threats by safely relocating critical community infrastructure. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act provided a huge boost for the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Climate Resilience program, allowing for historic levels of funding to be made available to Tribes and Tribal organizations.

Secretary Haaland made the announcement during a visit to the Gun Lake Tribe in Michigan, which received $4 million through last year’s Tribal Climate Annual Award for its Electric Infrastructure Implementation Project, to purchase electric vehicles and install solar infrastructure. She was joined by White House Domestic Policy Council Director Neera Tanden and Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland.

“As I’ve visited Indigenous communities across the country, I have seen firsthand how pressing the climate crisis is for Indigenous peoples and the urgency with which we must move to honor our obligations to Tribal Nations,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “This investment through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is a critical step toward further enabling Tribes to make thoughtful and proactive decisions about how to protect their people, their homelands and sacred sites, and critical community infrastructure.”  

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to ensuring that we are strong partners with Tribal Nations, and we are proud of these investments to address critical climate resiliency needs of Tribes across the country,” said White House Domestic Policy Council Director Neera Tanden.

Today’s funding announcement is part of a nearly $560 million investment for Tribal climate resilience programs achieved through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and annual appropriations. In addition to significantly boosting the BIA’s Tribal Climate Resilience program, the Department launched a first-ever Voluntary Community-Driven Relocation Program at the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit with an initial $135 million commitment to advance relocation and planning efforts for Tribal communities severely impacted by climate-related environmental threats. This funding is part of more than a collective $50 billion invested by the President’s Investing in America agenda to advance climate adaptation and resilience across the nation, including in communities that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. The funding also supplements additional actions President Biden announced last week to protect communities from the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, including from flooding, extreme heat, wildland fire, and drought.

“This historic investment reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to fulfilling the federal government’s trust responsibility of protecting Tribes’ ability to exist in their homelands in the face of a changing climate,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “This funding provides Tribes with the resources they need to develop and implement proactive strategies for their communities to protect homes and infrastructure, and if necessary, to relocate to safer ground.”

The Tribal Climate Resilience program advances the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to communities that have been historically marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution and environmental hazards.

With today’s announcement, Tribes and Tribal organizations will be able to apply for grants in the planning and implementation categories. These categories encompass a range of activities affecting every Tribe, such as climate adaptation planning, drought measures, wildland fire mitigation, community-driven relocation, managed retreat, protect-in-place efforts, and ocean and coastal management. The BIA will provide technical assistance to support Tribes and Tribal organizations in applying for these funds, including an informational webinar, a grant writing webinar and virtual office hours to help answer questions. For more information, please visit BIA’s Tribal Climate Resilience Annual Awards Program webpage or email resilience.funding@bia.gov.

President Biden's Investing in America agenda is deploying record investments to provide affordable high-speed internet, safer roads and bridges, modern wastewater and sanitations systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, and good paying jobs in every Tribal community.

While in Michigan, Secretary Haaland and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Tanden also convened a roundtable on increasing Tribal access to capital. The conversation included Tribal representatives and leaders from financial, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to discuss innovative approaches to expand economic development and investment in Tribal communities across the country.

 

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