Cara Cowan Watts, already a tribal councilor for the Cherokee Nation, has taken on a new role that she is eager to use to help her people: She was chosen to serve on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) for a two-year term that began on November 15, 2012.
“I believe my appointment will help the Cherokee people,” she told the Cherokee Phoenix. “As we continue to exercise our governmental obligations to protect our environment such as water and air quality, we are obligated to uphold the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act same as the states around us.”
The Local Government Advisory Committee pulls together advice and recommendations to help the EPA develop partnerships with local governments to provide environmental services and programs, the Phoenix said, with the aim of increasing environmental protection from the federal on down to the community level. According to the EPA, the committee is made up mainly of local officials, be they elected or appointed, plus state representatives, environmental interest groups and labor interests, from all over the U.S.
“I accepted the nomination as it is an honor to be considered and incredibly important work on behalf of Indian Country and the Cherokee Nation,” said Cowan Watts, according to the Phoenix. “I want to raise awareness about the work being done in Indian Country and still needing to be done in Indian Country concerning our environment. Federal regulations impact on governments and specifically more localized governments such as tribes seems to be the main focus.”
Cowan Watts was honored in November by the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission, one of three Cherokees to receive awards at the 15th annual Dream Keepers Awards, held in conjunction with the Tulsa Human Rights Department. Cowan Watts received the Charles Chibitty Family Community Award for community involvement, according to the Phoenix. She is one of three Cherokee Nation District 5 councilors.