Air Quality May Factor in to Coyote Park Business Plans

May 2012, CUJ

MISSION – Air quality will be a determining factor in regulating businesses that want to locate in Coyote Business Park on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, according to an article in an Environmental Protection Agency newsletter than features articles from several Northwest Indian tribes.

In its newsletter - “So FARR, So Good,” which plays on the Federal Air Rules for Reservations, the CTUIR’s contribution of “Building Knowledge and Capacity for a Cleaner Tomorrow” outlines the work of the Office of Air Quality (OAQ) in the Confederated Tribes’ Department of Science and Engineering (DOSE).

According to the article written by Jack Butler, the CTUIR Air Quality Specialist, the OAQ is developing a Tribal Implementation Plan that will “protect the health and well-being of the CTUIR community.”

The article specifically notes the development of the light industrial and retail zone at Coyote Business Park, which is in close proximity to the residential population.

With the adoption of the Tribal Implementation Plan, the CTUIR “will be better able to exercise tribal sovereignty over the Tribes’ valuable air resources by regulating the types of businesses that wish to operate on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.”

Butler’s article also describes the CTUIR’s efforts over the last several years that include an Open Burning Permit program and a smoke management program for all open burning on the reservation. In 2011, Butler wrote, the Office of Air Quality issued or renewed 142 burn permits, of which there were 124 small residential, 10 large residential, six agricultural and two forestry/silviculture permits. A total of 320 small/large residential burns were reported for the year. In addition, 625 acres of agricultural land and 20 tons of forestry/silviculture material were burned.

Butler also explained DOSE’s new 4,000 square foot research field station built to handle the growing business district and the tribes’ treaty and trustee oversight of the natural resources on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The field station includes a fully equipped metrological chemistry laboratory and two research greenhouses.

The purpose of the facility, the article states, is to allow CTUIR scientists to conduct experiments on the impacts of pollution on native resources such as food plants, aquatic organisms, and land animals. Additionally, research on methods to grow native plant species for revegetation of lands impacted by wild fires and human activity will occur in the field station.

“With this facility at the OAQ’s finger tips and with the adoption of the Tribal Implementation Plan, the OAQ anticipates conducting many of its own air quality analyses and increasing monitoring capabilities in include all EPA criteria pollutants,” Butler concluded.

This story originally appeared in the CUJ. The Confederated Umatilla Journal is the monthly newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Oregon.