Biden Admin Sending Tribes $120 Million To Fight Climate Change

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The Biden administration announced Thursday that it is giving Native American tribes across the country a total of $120 million to fight climate change.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is disseminating the money, which will be split into 146 different awards to support projects that enhance “climate resilience” in tribal communities. The funding is inspired in part by the administration’s view that Native American populations are among the least able to prepare or recover from climate change’s impacts.

“By providing these resources to tribes to plan and implement climate resilience programs in their own communities, we can better meet the needs of each community and allow them to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge when addressing climate change,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland said of the funding. “These resources will enable tribes to protect their ability to exist in their homelands in the face of a changing climate.” (RELATED: Biden Admin’s New Climate Report Touts Use Of ‘Indigenous Knowledge’)

The concept of  “Indigenous Knowledge” that Newland references in his statement is the idea that Native Americans have an inherent and cultural understanding of nature and natural processes that is on par with those informed by traditional Western science. The Biden administration has cited “Indigenous Knowledge” as “the best available science” to partially justify the cancellation of seven oil and gas leases in Alaska, for example, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

FORT LIBERTY, NORTH CAROLINA – JUNE 9: President Joe Biden speaks to service members and their families in support of Joining Forces, the initiative to support military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors on June 9, 2023 at Fort Liberty, North Carolina. (Photo by Eros Hoagland/Getty Images)

The funding is also in line with the Biden administration’s Justice40 agenda, which stipulates that at least 40% of the benefits derived from climate spending flow to purportedly disadvantaged and marginalized communities.

“Indigenous communities are facing unique and intensifying climate-related challenges that pose an existential threat to tribal economies, infrastructure, lives and livelihoods,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said of the funding. “Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are making transformational commitments to assist tribes and tribal organizations as they plan for and implement climate resilience measures, upholding our trust and treaty responsibilities and safeguarding these places for generations to come.”

View of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim side on August 24, 2020. (Photo by Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images)

The $120 million announced Thursday is part of a broader $440 million spending push to fund tribes to fight climate change, according to the DOI. The $120 million is made up of $26 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law, $71 million from the Inflation Reduction Act and $23 million from fiscal year 2023 appropriations.

The 146 individual awards are going to 102 tribes and nine tribal organizations, according to the DOI. Some of the projects funded include developing plans for “climate adaptation,” construction plans for bridges and youth educational initiatives, according to the DOI.

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