TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA – The Cherokee Nation helped the city of Tahlequah save thousands of dollars by donating the tribe’s environmental health experts’ time to check for asbestos in a row of nearly two dozen homes marked for demolition.
A team of five environmental specialists from the tribe’s environmental health department spent two days recently taking samples of roofing, debris and building materials from 19 derelict homes on Basin Avenue for asbestos testing. The city plans to tear down the homes and has to have that work done prior to removal.
“The Cherokee Nation has a skilled environmental protection team that is trained to do this kind of work, and anytime we can step up and help Tahlequah save money, we are proud to do so. Now that funding can go toward other needed infrastructure projects,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Cherokees have a long history of being good stewards of the environment, so we’re pleased to help our friends at the municipal government create a more environmentally friendly community.”
Typically, the city would bid out the work since it is required to test for asbestos in order to keep workers safe during demolition and also reduce the number of emissions into the air.
“The project is moving faster and is costing the city less due to the Cherokee Nation’s help. Whenever we’ve needed them and their expertise, they’ve made themselves available, and I couldn’t be more thankful,” Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols said. “They’ll help us keep removal crews safe and help us complete a project that will have tremendous aesthetic and environmental benefits to the citizens of Tahlequah and the Cherokee Nation.”
The Cherokee Nation’s environmental health helps keep tribal citizens, facilities and land environmentally healthy by conducting water sampling, air quality testing, food inspections and more.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.