Staff Report

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Chumash Casino Resort as its EPA WasteWise National Tribal Partner of the Year.

The tribe was honored for its outstanding accomplishments during 2019 in sustainable operations. The organization is one of 11 WasteWise partner organizations recognized nationally for their efforts this year.

“As we begin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, it is fitting to highlight these WasteWise partners for their dedication to waste reduction, environmental stewardship and sustainable materials management,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These efforts not only provide environmental and cost savings benefits, but they also increase the efficiency of these businesses and organizations positioning them for greater success.”

“For more than 25 years, the WasteWise program has encouraged organizations and businesses to divert waste and apply sustainable materials management practices, saving them resources and money,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “We are pleased to recognize the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Chumash Casino Resort for their environmental stewardship and encourage others to follow their lead.”

“As the original stewards of the Santa Ynez Valley, our tribe understands the importance of minimizing our impact on the environment by any means necessary,” said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “The casino’s Facilities Department has taken our recycling efforts to another level, and it has required a lot of cooperation throughout our resort to get us where we are today.”

Since winning the WasteWise Tribal Partner of the Year Award in 2015, the Chumash Casino Resort, owned and operated by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, increased its efforts to decrease its waste stream. In 2018, the resort diverted more than 1,497 tons of materials, 90.94 percent of its overall waste stream, from local landfills in an effort to reach its zero-waste goal by 2019. EPA recognized the tribe for its waste reduction last year as well.

For more information about Chumash Casino Resort sustainability efforts visit:

WasteWise is one of EPA’s longest-running voluntary programs and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. For more information, visit: