AKWESASNE (WWTI) — EPA funding has been awarded to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to protect against pollution.

Grant funding was specifically awarded to the Tribe’s Environment Division and totaled $302,546 through the Pollution Prevention grant program.

“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,” EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia said in a press release. “It is always better to prevent pollution before it happens and that is exactly what these types of grants aim to accomplish.”

According to the Environment Division, this grant will allow the tribe to provide technical assistance, service and training for Akwesasne businesses on how to reduce or eliminate air, water or land pollution.

The new grant will specifically target snow and ice removal and management practices, which the division said will reduce roadway salt contamination.

The grant proposal was coordinated and submitted by Assistant Director Les Benedict, who has identified and secured new funding to support tribal environmental work for over three decades.

“Road salt is widely used in snow belt regions and its use has doubled since 1975, causing environmental damage to reach unacceptable levels,” Benedict said regarding the grant. “It’s 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.”