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The Penobscot Indian Nation Tribal Response Program (TRP) began in 2011 as an environmental program under Department of Natural Resource on Indian Island. Every year the Brownfields Program applies for a Cercla(128a) grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Program Agency. The Brownfields program also collaborates with other agencies and funding resources.

Sean O’Brien works for the Brownfield Program as a Brownfield Program Coordinator under the Department of Natural Resources. Sean has been working with the Brownfield Program for the Penobscot Nation since January of 2018.

A Brownfield Program Coordinator is responsible for the management of all aspects of the Penobscot Nation Brownfields Program. Sean coordinates with Campbell Environmental Group, who are Qualified Environmental Professionals, to prepare grant applications for the EPA, and to coordinate both Phase I and Phase II field activities, assessments and remediation. He prepares Quarterly and Yearly reports to the EPA, and is responsible for the coordination of Outreach and Education to the tribal community about the Brownfield Program.

Sean has a passion to protect and enhance our natural resources and his background includes working for the Water Resources Program here in DNR during the summer and fall of 2017. He went to the University of Maine where he attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering with a focus on Water Resources.

The Purpose of this Program

  • Reduces exposure of Harmful Substances to Human Health and the Environment
  • Enhances the Quality of Life by decreasing blight and providing a safer environment
  • Provides a means to enhance Economic Development
  • Provides Funding to Investigate cleanup sites
  • Protects and Enhances the Environment for Future Generations

A Tribal Response Program is a way to implement the work plan that the Brownfield Coordinator and Qualified Environmental Professional have submitted to the EPA. The Coordinator is responsible for administering the grant and serves as a technical contact for the EPA Region 1 Tribal Program Officer as well as the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The goal is to reach the “4 ELEMENTS” tasks as listed below.


Task 1- Establish or Enhance the Four Elements

  • Survey and Inventory of Brownfields Sites on Tribal Lands (Not Available COMING SOON)
  • Develop/Enhance Ordinances, regulations, and procedures for response programs
  • Review Site-Specific Quality Assurance Project Plans (SSQAPPS) and Cleanup Plans and Verify Completed Activities
  • Reporting

Task 2- Establish and Maintain the Public Record (Public Participation)

  • Record-Maintain files (All Public Files will be available in the Brownfields Coordinator office)
  • Develop Marketing Material –FLYER coming soon-Pamphlet
  • Hold Tribal Meeting- Notifications by email and in Tribal Newsletters

Task 3-Enhance the Response Program or Cleanup Capacity (Procedures & Documentation)

  • Records
  • Training for Brownfield Coordinator
  • Meeting with Federal and State Counterparts

Task 4-Site Specific Activities (Environmental Assessments)

  • Phase I Investigations
  • Phase II Investigations

Brownfields Sites Can Potentially Include the Following:

  • Abandoned warehouses
  • Abandoned industrial buildings
  • Old buildings/factories/gas stations
  • Landfills
  • Open/illegal dumping (particularly involving hazardous wastes like gas, oil, pesticides, paints, etc).
  • Methamphetamine labs: Materials found at these sites are extremely hazardous; don’t investigate yourself. If you suspect a meth lab in operation or discover a location you suspect might be a former meth lab, call the police immediately.
  • Above-ground or underground fuel storage tanks that are abandoned or suspected to be leaking

Not a Brownfields Site:

  • A site the owner is liable for and that is being used as an open dump
  • A site where a removal action by another organization or agency has or is occurring

Please contact us if you want to know more or if you believe you have come across a Brownfields site.  We are here to help!

[email protected]