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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Selects Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to Receive $200,000 for Trash-Free Waters Grant

Contact Information: 
Melba Table (
404 562-9086 (Direct), 404 562-8400 (Main)

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. – (October 8, 2020) Today, at a press conference at Lake Pushmataha, Mississippi Band Choctaw Indian (MBCI) Reservation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it intends to award MBCI the Trash-Free Waters Grant. MBCI was selected to receive a $200,000 grant to purchase a bandalong litter trap for the Kentawka Canal.

“Under President Trump we are cleaning up our lands, air, and water through renewed partnerships at the state and tribal level. Today’s Trash-Free Waters grant to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is an important part of reducing litter and plastic waste from entering our waterways that has far reaching environmental benefits,” said EPA Chief of Staff Mandy Gunasekara.

“Keeping our waters trash free is a top priority for EPA,” said EPA Regional Administrator Mary S. Walker. “We are proud to partner with the MBCI, and this funding will support their efforts to eliminate trash from entering waterways and protect critical natural resources.”

“I want to thank Katherine Pugh, newly appointed EPA Region IV Tribal Relations Coordinator, for her initial visit with us back in March and for the continued support of other committed partners in the EPA,” said Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben. “As a result of a productive meeting that identified some growing areas of pollution and concern along Kentawka Canal, the EPA has been able to procure funding to help address the problem. We are very thankful for these funds and plan to put them to good use. I enjoy the outdoors as many of my fellow Choctaw people do and to see our outdoors and waterways littered with trash is heartbreaking. We are the stewards of our lands and we must protect our environment so future generations can enjoy it too.” 

MBCI’s Bandalong litter trap is designed to float in the waterway in order to capture litter before it flows farther downstream by using the current to guide debris into the trap. The trap will capture and retain debris ready for removal and disposal.

EPA’s Trash-Free Waters program works to reduce and prevent trash from entering U.S. waters and the ocean. EPA plays a unique role in assisting states, tribes, municipalities, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and concerned citizens work together to explore more effective ways to reduce the amount of litter and packaging waste that enters the water. EPA has provided technical and financial support for multiple projects designed to prevent trash from entering waterways.

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