Last month Ben Thomas of UST Training attended and presented at a 4-day environmental conference the Tribal Lands Environmental Forum (TLEF) August 19-23, in Palm Springs, CA.
Ben gave three different UST-related presentations to a roomful of tribal attendees from around the country. UST Training provides online training for Class A/B and C UST operator training that is specifically deigned for Indian Country UST operators.
Check out the video summary of the conference here:
With more than 550 attendees, this was the largest TLEF yet, with 394 tribal members representing 158 federally recognized tribes. The conference provides a unique forum for government agencies to engage directly with tribal entities and the conference welcomed more than 70 representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”
This year’s TLEF featured technical trainings, field trips, breakout sessions and cultural events related to our theme: A National Conversation on Tribal Land and Water Resources. The 65 breakout sessions covered management topics such as solid and hazardous waste, brownfields, underground storage tanks, Superfund sites, water quality programs and emergency response. Field trips allowed participants to see how neighboring tribes are addressing waste diversion, habitat restoration and other environmental concerns.
While there are other conferences that provide support for environmental stewardship, TLEF is tailored to tribal nations. Challenges to environment and natural resource management can play out in different ways based on location, landscape, tribal government and tribal customs.
The conference included a performance and speech by Ta’Kaiya Blaney, an internationally known singer and environmental justice activist from the Tla’Amin First Nation in British Columbia, as well as Miss Agua Caliente, Destiny Saubel, performing her tribe’s migration songs during an event featuring local Native artists, and a Color Guard of local Native members of a US Air Force JROTC.
The TLEF 2019 was organized by ITEP, the EPA and the Tribal Waste and Response Steering Committee, working in partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other local Tribal Nations. For more information about ITEP and the TLEF, please visit ITEP’s website.