ENVIRONMENTAL: Tribe recognizes Air Program for excellence

The Air Quality Program poses for a group photo after being recognized for receiving a Clean Air Excellence Award.
Tom Johnson, EPD Division Head, recognizes recipients of the Clean Air Excellence Awards.
Vice Chairman Alex S. Cloud awards David Heermance (EPD and Air Quality Compliance Specialist).
Crystal Kelly (EPD and Air Quality Compliance Specialist) is awarded for excellence by Vice Chairman Alex S. Cloud.
Vice Chairman Alex S. Cloud awards Lorelyn Hall (Legal Services Director).
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe gathered in the Hall of Warriors on Tuesday, Dec. 13 to celebrate the national recognition of the tribe’s Air Quality Program. The Air Quality Program received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2016 Clean Air Excellence Award for Regulatory and Policy Innovation, back in June of this year. The tribe received the award for successful implementation of its Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit program – the first and only approved Title V air program in Indian Country.

At the ceremony Environmental Programs Division Head Tom Johnson talked about the history of the program and the role the tribe has played in making all its environmental programs a priority.

“The tribe for many years has had excellent Air Quality Program thanks to the membership, staff and guidance from council and everyone here.”

Vice Chairman Alex S. Cloud recognized Air Quality staff handing out beaded Southern Ute Indian Tribe pins. Cloud said “We’ve come a long way,” and added that the tribe is number one in the country in different areas and that’s thanks to the staff.

Air Quality Program Manager Mark Hutson received a beaded bolo tie of the EPD logo.

“Thanks to the staff that help us do our work and thanks to [Michael] Frost for his vision to get this program going,” Hutson said. “I came here 3 years ago and it was the best choice I’ve made.”

The Air Quality Program began with a basic monitoring program in 1981 under Mike “Fire” Frost, Johnson said. Frost played an integral role in establishing the Environmental Programs Division and is remembered for his enthusiasm and work to improve public health and environmental protection on the Southern Ute Reservation and all across Indian Country.

Cheryl Frost sister of the late Mike “Fire” Frost spoke on her family’s behalf at the ceremony.

“He would be proud … you’d make him proud,” Frost said thanking the staff for continuing the work of her brother.


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