The Red Lake Department of Natural Resources began an Air Quality program in December of 2007 with GAP funding and in the spring of 2009 secured Clean Air Act (CAA) 103 funding. With the approval of its Treatment as a State (TAS) application, the program transitioned to CAA 105 funding in 2014. In 2016, the CAA 105 funding was incorporated into a Performance Partnership Grant (PPG).

Red Lake operates and maintains a PM2.5 continuous monitor with assistance from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a small footprint Clean Air Status and Trends Network site, and an ammonia monitoring site with the Ammonia Monitoring Network. The program has also collected data on mercury dry deposition as part of the Litterfall Mercury Project with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program for several years. The Air Quality program has worked to create important documents, such as a Tribal Smoke Management Plan and Emissions Inventory documents, including a draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory.

Additional priorities and projects include: the replacement of older diesel vehicles with Volkswagen settlement funds, installation of four electric vehicle charging stations on the Reservation, deployment of a PurpleAir sensor, and indoor air quality. Although ambient air quality has been the main focus, indoor air quality (IAQ) remains a concern. Basic IAQ home assessments of homes on the Reservation are available upon request, though this has been put on hold due to covid-19.

BETA ATTENUATION MONITOR

The Beta Attenuation Monitor (BAM) on top of Red Lake Hospital provides local air quality data for the Reservation. A BAM measures fine particulates (PM2.5) which include “fine particles” (such as those found in smoke and haze), which are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less. The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems because they can get into your lungs and some may even get into your bloodstream.

The BAM is part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s network and sends data as it is collected once every hour to the AirNow website (which can be viewed here). Follow this link to see the air quality index for Red Lake. Click on ‘Red Lake’ to see a chart that shows a record of PM2.5 concentrations for every hour of the day. Also, you can sign up for Red Lake Air Quality Notifications here.

CLEAN AIR STATUS AND TRENDS NETWORK

Red Lake operates a Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) site that has been in operation since August 2014. A filter pack is replaced weekly at this small-footprint site. Parameters for small-footprint sites like this one are sulfur dioxide, nitric acid, particulate ammonium, particulate nitrate, particulate sulfate, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, and chlorine. Follow this link for more information on our site as well as a map of the site location.

An Ambient Ammonia monitor is co-located at the CASTNET site. It is a passive sampler that is replaced every two weeks. Follow this link for the Ammonia Monitoring Network (AMoN) website and more information on the Red Lake site.

VOLKSWAGEN TRUST SETTLEMENT

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians provides the following information as required by the terms of the Volkswagen Settlement Trust.

In 2016 the United States reached a settlement with companies collectively known as “Volkswagen” (VW) to resolve allegations that VW knowingly enabled automobiles to emit pollutants that far exceeded what is allowable under U.S. emissions standards (violating the Clean Air Act). As a result, a multimillion-dollar mitigation trust account was established for federally recognized tribes to reduce nitrous oxide emissions through approved mitigation plans. Red Lake has been officially designated as an approved beneficiary since 2019.

Our mitigation plan focuses primarily on replacing old diesel-powered vehicles with new, low-emission diesel vehicles, as well as installing Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in several locations. In November of 2019, the Trustee disbursed monies to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians for the 2nd of up to five (5) total funding cycles for which the Red Lake Nation is eligible. We will satisfy VW Beneficiary reporting obligations by compiling semiannual reports, which can be viewed in our public notices section below.