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The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs will grant three tribes $25 million each to relocate homes, schools, and critical infrastructure threatened by sea-level rise, flooding, and erosion. These are the first grants distributed under a program aimed at helping tribes cope with climate change.

“Helping these communities move to safety on their homelands is one of the most important climate related investments we could make in Indian Country,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement.

The program, created by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, allocates $216 million for climate resilience. The first beneficiaries include Newtok Village and the Native Village of Napakiak in Alaska, which are threatened by rapid erosion as the ground thaws and by storm surges wearing away at the coast. They will use the funds to relocate to more solid ground. The third beneficiary is Taholah Village in Washington State, which is threatened by rising seas and river flooding and is planning to move to higher elevation.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced that it is also awarding eight $5 million planning grants. The recipients include four tribes in Alaska, and one in each of Arizona, California, Louisiana, and Maine. Money will help tribes cope with melting permafrost, erosion, floods, drought, wildfires, and other climate risks.

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