Cherokee Nation cleanup

Friday, August 26th 2005, 10:35 am
By: News On 6

It's a dirty job and they want to clean it up. The Cherokee Nation is getting into the pollution testing and clean-up business.

As News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg explains, it's part of the tribe's strategy to diversify its economy.

Cheryl Cohenour with CRC Environmental Services says business is good. "There doesn't seem to be a shortage of pollution out there right now." Cohenour's business tests for and if need be, performs the removal of contaminated soil and water. “Where you don't know how much, or how deep, or how wide the contamination is and you need to find out so that you can determine what to do with that contamination."

Chief Chad Smith says the company caught the eye of the Cherokee Nation, which decided to merge with it, because he says it fits in with the tribe's 3 main business goals, tourism, the environment, and leveraged acquisitions. "Gaming is part of an overall push for tourism. Today's acquisition and merger is part of environmental solutions. And we want to do more of that. Deal with the chicken litter problem, the pollution in the rivers, heavy metal disposals, all those kind of things."

Cohenour, who is already a member of the Cherokee Nation, says the tribe's involvement will let the company, which now has about two dozen permanent employees, grow much faster than it would otherwise. She says with the booming environmental field, a workforce of 200 isn't out of the question. "As we become more aware of the environment and the damage we cause to the environment, I think we'll continue to see this as a growing field in the future."

Chief Chad Smith: “ultimately, what we want is everyone in the Cherokee Nation who wants a job to have one, a meaningful job."

In just the past year, besides this company, the Cherokee Nation has created Cherokee Connex. It is a wireless Internet provider and the tribe has started a company called Idling Solutions, which makes a battery-powered refrigeration unit for semi-trucks.