AIR QUALITY PROGRAM
The Red Lake Department of Natural Resources (RL DNR) began its Air Quality Program in December of 2007 with GAP funding and in the spring of 2009 secured CAA 103 funding. With the approval of its Treatment as an Affected Sovereign/State (TAS) application, the program transitioned to CAA 105 funding in 2014.
Some of the program’s most notable achievements include: approval of TAS application to EPA for CAA Sections 105 and 505(a), completion of an Emissions Inventory (EI), acquisition of a Beta Attenuation Monitor (BAM), partnerships with EPA (School Air Toxics Monitoring) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (Air Toxics Monitoring), participation in Litterfall Mercury Project (National Atmospheric Deposition Program), operation of Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) small footprint site and collaborative projects with the American Lung Association (ALA). Other achievements include representation on TAMS Steering Committee, weather station installation, educational outreach at annual events (Health Fair, Water Festival, etc.) and radon program activities including hosting Measurement & Home Diagnostics and Hands-On Mitigation trainings (with the University of Minnesota, Midwest Universities Radon Consortium), working with Red Lake Housing Authority to test homes and increasing radon awareness through outreach events.
Current priorities and projects include: working with CASTNET and the Ammonia Monitoring Network (AMoN), PM2.5 continuous monitoring with assistance from the MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), continued participation in the Litterfall Mercury Project, finalizing a smoke management plan (SMP), IAQ assessments for band members, implementing the School Flag Program and hosting and/or participating in local community events. Air quality issues we are most concerned with include mold in homes and smoke from prescribed burns and wildland fires. We are always looking for partnership opportunities that allow us to gain and share knowledge and experience.
BETA ATTENUATION MONITOR (BAM)
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 sends data as it is collected every hour to the the AirNow website and can be viewed instantly. The BAM is also a part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) network. The equipment works by measuring the volumetric concentration of fine particulate matter in the ambient air once every hour. Follow the link below 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.
SIGN UP for Red Lake Air Quality Notifications at http://redlake.enviroflash.info/
CLEAN AIR STATUS AND TRENDS NETWORK (CASTNET)
Red Lake operates a second air quality monitoring site just east of Redby. It is a Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) site (Site ID: RED004) that has been in operation since August 2014. This is a small-footprint site with a filter pack that is replaced weekly. Parameters for the small-footprint sites are sulfur dioxide, nitric acid, particulate ammonium, particulate nitrate, particulate sulfate, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, and chlorine. Follow the link below for the CASTNET website that has more information on our site as well as a map of the site location.
An Ambient Ammonia monitor (Site ID: MN02) has recently been added to our CASTNET location. It is a passive sampler that is replaced every two weeks. Follow the link below for the Ammonia Monitoring Network (AMoN) website with more information.
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 in 2019.
Our mitigation plan focuses primarily on replacing specific classes of diesel-powered vehicles with new, low-emission diesel vehicles for our Sanitation Department and the Transfer Station, 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.
General Information about the VW Settlement Trust:
Additional questions may be emailed to the Tribe’s Environmental Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org