EPA Tribal News, Fall 2003-Winter 2004
This pilot edition sponsored by: "OPPTS TRIBAL NEWS"
The "Common Ground" festival in American Indian parlance is a pow wow where Tribal affiliation gives way to ethic relationships shared by all American Indians. The pow wow was sponsored by the Maryland Indian Tourism Association in conjunction with the State of Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs. The pow wow also was made possible through the efforts of many, but special acknowledgment goes to the pow wow Chairman Rico Newman, Piscataway.
"The drum represents the heartbeat of the People and
Mother Earth. Without the heartbeat of the drum there is no pow wow. The
drum sets the rhythm of the dance and the tempo of the song. The Indian
drum has two beats- the single beat represents Mother Earth, and the double
beat stands for humans."
-- Manataka American Indian Council
Mary Lauterbach, OPPT Editor
Shanita Brackett, Editor, Writer
Brian Adams, Graphic Design
Karen Rudek, Office of Pesticides
Claudia Walters, Office of Research and Development
Shakeba Carter-Jenkins, Office of Water
Frances Dresselle, Office of Water
Chad James, Office of Chief Financial Office
Jeff Tumarkin, Office of Environment Information
Doris Thompson, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Darrell Harmon, Office of Air and Radiation
Beverly Updike, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance
Pete Christich, Office of International Affairs
Glenn Langlois, Office of Administration and Resource Management
Marlene Regeleski-Door, American Indian Environmental Office
Janice Whitney, Sub Lead Tribal Coordinator
Jim Sappier, Region 1 Tribal Manager
Christine Yost, Region 2 Indian Coordinator
Mark Robertson, Region IV Indian Coordinator
William Dew, Region V Indian Coordinator
Robert Wood, Region VI Indian Coordinator
Wolfgang Brandner, Region VII Indian Coordinator
Conally Mears, Region VIII Indian Coordinator
Clancy Tenley, Region IX Indian Coordinator
Sandra Johnson, Region X Indian Coordinator
With special thanks to our summer interns:
Allison Sassnet, Virginia Tech
Andrea hanks, Navajo Nation
Michelle Humphrey, EPA OPPT summer intern, Pennsylvania State University
Vandessa Vandever, Navajo Nation, OPPTS Tribal News project lead
OPPTS Tribal News requests interesting, relevant stories about pesticide and pollution prevention programs and projects in Indian country from our readers. If you want to share your experience with our readers, please write or send an e-mail to Karen Rudek (pesticides), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue (MC7506C), Washington, DC 20460, email@example.com, or Mary Lauterbach (pollution prevention), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue (MC7408M), Washington, DC 20460, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be placed on our mailing list, write to:
OPPTS Tribal News, U.S. EPA, OPPT
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue (MC7408M), Washington, DC 20460, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
OPPTS Tribal News can be viewed on the Internet at www.epa.gov/opptintr/tribal/
OPPTS Tribal News, Volume 4, Number 3, EPA 745-N-00-001
From the OPPT Editor
EPA is very pleased to present this special "Pilot" issue of the OPPTS Tribal News. This pilot issue has allowed OPPTS to invite various EPA media programs and offices to share with us valuable information regarding their programs and activities, along with Tribal information and perspectives regarding a vast array of environmental concerns and issues that may have great interest to Indian country.
Many at EPA have heard from Tribes that improving our ways of communication would be greatly beneficial to EPA and Tribal partnerships. It is fairly well known that Tribal environmental programs and office staff are often overwhelmed with information from numerous and varied sources. Tribes have expressed the great difficulties for their limited Tribal staff to sort through and select pertinent information in a timely fashion. Many Tribes do not have the size or infrastructure to deal with the many diverse office and media programs sources of information. Tribal representatives have continued to advise EPA that Tribes tend to relate to the environment differently as they view the world in a holistic fashion, and would prefer the Agency decrease its use of administrating Tribal environmental protection programs through its traditional "stove piping" approaches, such as air and water. Since many Tribes view all things as being inter-related, it may be better to learn about the environment holistically.
This pilot issue attempts to provide Tribes with one media source that presents environmental-related information from all EPA media offices, Regions, and various Tribal members. We also hope that our readers find this pilot issue informative and useful in understanding the many EPA and Tribal environmental protection programs, and prevalent concerns. We thank all EPA and Tribal contributors. Their enthusiasm and willingness to participate in this pilot issue is commendable, encouraging, and greatly appreciated.
-Mary Lauterbach, OPPT Editor
The Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic
Substances is pleased to include the comments and opinions of contributors.
Byline articles and interviews represent the opinions and views
of contributors and not necessarily those of the U.S. Environmental
New EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt's Collaborative Approach on Major Environmental Issues and Concerns
On November 6, 2003 former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt was sworn in as the 10th Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Leavitt pledged to seek collaboration in the application of a "balanced set of environmental principles" to protect the nation's environment.
Prior to leading the Agency, Leavitt served as Utah's 14th governor and was a national leader on homeland security, welfare reform, and environmental management. As a pioneer of collaborative environmental management, Leavitt helped clean the air over the Grand Canyon as he served as Vice-Chair of the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission and Co-Chair of the Western Regional Air Partnership. These efforts resulted in recommendations to improve visibility on the Colorado Plateau and regulatory commitments and strategies to reduce sulfur dioxide levels in 13 states. Tribes were an important part of this effort.
During a recent introductory address to EPA's staff, Leavitt stated that he envisions a new wave of environmental productivity in America. This productivity will stem from people joining together in collaborative networks for environmental teamwork. Many of these networks will be small and made up of neighbors, communities, and local governments, while others will involve larger geographic areas that are massive in scope and scale. Leavitt believes that collaboration, which exceeds national, state, and community boundaries, is the next great leap in environmental productivity. He has challenged EPA to lead the way.
A Special Word from AIEO's Carol Jorgensen
I'd like to take a moment and reflect on some of the challenges, experiences, and events that I've encountered in this past year and a half while working in the Tribal Program. I joined the EPA American Environmental Indian Office (AIEO) on May 6, 2002. I will admit that going from a land management agency to a regulatory agency was a change, although I've worked in air, land, water, and enforcement during my 40-plus years career. As I have traveled throughout the U.S. to visit Tribes, I know that a lot of work remains to be done. Some of this includes cleaning rivers, lakes, and water bodies, as well as restoring contaminated fish and food sources, that our Tribes depend on throughout the coastal and inland areas for their subsistence needs. I've seen areas suffering from solid waste pollution and reservations severely affected by air pollution from surrounding developments, mining, and industrial wastes. As a result of these conditions, Tribes are seeing more adverse health effects, and reports of cancer, diabetes, asthma, other lung problems, and allergies are increasing. These are areas that demand our immediate attention and commitment in finding solutions. These issues are our challenges for many future decades.
The good news is that Tribes are committed to partnering with EPA to tackle these tough health and environmental concerns. It is gratifying to see the Tribes committed to this work. As I often say, " if you give Tribes $1.00, they will make it $2.50 they will do whatever it takes to ensure that they are making a better world for their children, grandchildren, and their future generations. "Amazingly, they use their knowledge of the past to make a better future. Thousands of years of experience, information, and science are resulting in outcomes that we all need to pay attention to for our world. Through indigenous knowledge, along with some of the best science in EPA, we will sustain the Tribes a nd all people in the future.
There is much work to be done, and we have yet to scratch the surface. We need to determine where to go from here. However, the rewarding factor is that EPA is committed to Tribes and is making headway in the Tribal program. The commitment from the Administrator is strong and very supportive. With that kind of commitment, we can only build a stronger foundation that will guarantee continued work and improvement on Tribal environmental issues.
I feel humbled, privileged and honored to work in this program, and my passion is to ensure that Tribal people have a strong, bright future for centuries to come. As a Tribal member I want to ensure that we leave a better legacy for our children than we see today. My appreciation goes to the Tribes and this Agency that have cared enough to take a stand, develop the 1984 Indian Policy, and honor our commitment to the Tribes while working in a government-to-government, trust relationship. This demonstrates respect for sovereign Tribal nations and attempts to heal some of the past actions in order to build on a bright future.
Gonal Cheesh Ho Ho, my most sincere appreciation and thanks go out to all of you. Keep up the wonderful work and don't get discouraged. As my Elders say, " everything happens for a reason, and all things come in time if it is meant to be."
Carol J. Jorgensen, (Shuk de Hait), Director, American Indian Environmental Office
A Note from the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
The United States Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxics Substances (OPPTS) is pleased to provide this pilot issue, sponsored by OPPTS Tribal News. This issue provides a unique opportunity to feature key environmental programs, activities, and information from all EPA media offices and highlights the successes and progress to protect the environment in Indian country.
EPA continues to explore ways to achieve its goals with Indian Tribes so that the protection of our air, water, land and communities and ecosystems can be successfully sustained for future generations. EPA is firmly committed to enhancing its partnership with Tribes through the development of effective relationships and communications. This pilot is one attempt to provide a unified source of information that is not currently available.
We hope that you will find this pilot issue useful and full of valuable information that will assist you in understanding and carrying out environmental protection programs and activities in your Tribal communities and on your lands.
OPPTS would like to thank the EPA and Tribal contributors for their support of this pilot issue. We, at OPPTS, also look forward to working with all of our EPA and Tribal partners in ensuring a healthier and cleaner environment.
Susan B. Hazen, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
Marylouise Uhlig, Associate Assistant Administrator for Management, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
OPPTS Tribal Strategy
At the request of several Tribal representatives, OPPTS has decided to extend the time frame for Tribal review of the OPPTS Draft Tribal Strategy until February 17, 2004. This Strategy is important to many Tribal environmental programs as it contains specific long-term and short-term environmental goals and objectives regarding OPPTS environmental protection programs in Indian country.
OPPTS expects to finalize this Strategy in Spring 2004. For further information and to obtain a copy of the draft Strategy or submit Tribal comments regarding the Strategy, please contact Caren-Rothstein-Robinson, EPA OPPTS, at 202-564-0544 or rothstein-robinson.caren @epa.gov.
Bridging the Digital Divide, Improving Tribal Access to Environmental Information
Office of Environmental Information
There are many issues surrounding the Digital Divide that are common to every under-represented group, including income levels, education levels, information, computer literacy, Internet access, available technology and geographic location. However, among the Native American people, there is an additional consideration of cultural concerns and diversity among tribes that needs to be addressed. The Digital Divide among Native American people needs to be bridged in such a way that it will respect and preserve each Tribe's cultural heritage while providing improved access to relevant environmental information. Although Tribal governments and Native Americans residing on reservations have made great strides in getting online, federal officials and Tribal leaders are concerned about the lack of internet access for schools, homes, and businesses on reservations.
Currently, EPA's main web site does not have a single point of entry for Tribes to access when seeking environmental information or assistance. EPA's Office of Environmental Information (OEI), in partnership with the American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO), is developing a Tribal Portal to facilitate access to relevant environmental information for Native Americans. Although much of this information may be available on the Internet, it is not available via a centrally located and easily searchable web site. Additionally, a Tutorial is being developed to accompany the Portal in order to assist users in locating the information they seek. While developing a Tribal Portal has many merits, non Web-based methods for disseminating relevant environmental information also need to be considered. On October 9, 2003, OEI participated in a ceremony to kick-off the pilot of the Public Access Workstation and Tribal Portal at the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana. The Workstation, along with the Tribal Portal and Tutorial, will help to provide relevant environmental information and encourage Tribal feedback to the Agency.
In order to make sure that EPA provides relevant environmental information in a culturally sensitive way, OEI and AIEO are partnering with Tribal representatives, Tribal organizations, other EPA Offices, EPA Regional Tribal contacts, and other government agencies in developing both Web and non-Web based products and services.
If you have any questions or feedback regarding this project, please contact Jeff Tumarkin, EPA Office of Environmental Information, at 202-566-0681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Trail for Protecting Traditional and Tribal Lifeways
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Mary Lauterbach, EPA Tribal News Editor
Fred Corey, Aroostook Band of MicMacs, Environmental Health Department
Kesner Flores, Cortina Indian Rancheria, Wintun Tribe, Environmental Protection Agency
Andrea hanks, Navajo Nation
Tribes are keenly aware of their environment and are equally observant in detecting adverse changes that are occurring. Over time, these changes have become prime examples of how traditional ways of life are being threatened or eliminated today. The environments of the great forests of the east and west coasts, Great Lakes, everglades, northern plains, southwestern deserts and canyons, arctic, oceans, and delta plains are being adversely impacted by contaminants from past and present sources.
It may surprise some that even native environments from as far as the Arctic are being adversely affected by pollutants that do not know natural or political boundaries.
For example, DDT, a substance banned internationally as long as 25 years ago, still shows up in the tissues of sea mammals in the Arctic.
In many cases, Tribes know what the problems are and what they need to do in order to address these complex issues. In other cases, they do not know what is causing the changes, how it is affecting their people, and what they need to do in order to mitigate the risks associated with the changes.
The continued protection of Tribal lands and waterways where traditional activities have taken place throughout their history, such as gathering, fishing, hunting, trapping, herding, and harvesting, is at stake. This unique way of life and the culture associated with it need protection in order for each Tribe to survive. These cultural elements include, but are not limited to, legends, ceremonies, songs, dances, spiritual knowledge, languages, and worldviews. So intertwined are these cultural elements to the natural environmental, that many Tribes cannot exist as healthy, vibrant communities without practicing and sharing their cultural heritage. It must be understood that to have any part of their environment contaminated or compromised affects the whole, and thus may not allow some Tribes to pursue their sovereign rights to continue on with their traditional ways of life.
Many Tribes will agree that in order to enable at least some of their unique cultures and traditions to continue the way they have been practiced for thousands of years, change must begin now-while others may think that "now" might already be too late. Tribal communities may find that the efforts by the Tribes to protect their traditional lifeways may be one of the most important environmental issues confronting them today.
Over the past several years, Tribal representatives have been working together and in partnership with EPA on this most pressing and fundamental environmental issue. There has been, through a series of discussions and meetings, an effort to better define the issues, setting forth an agenda, and building a solid network of Tribal representatives to assist EPA.
Provided on the next few pages are short summaries of some of the different meetings, various perspectives regarding the outcomes that have taken place, Tribal recommendations that have been made, and current directives relating to the protection of the Tribal traditional ways of life. Additional meetings related to this topic also are listed chronologically.
This meeting was one of the first that began over the last year and half, with a total of 39 people participating in person or by phone. The breakdown represented 21 Tribal and 18 EPA media office representatives. The Tribal representatives were from various EPA advisory groups and Tribal organizations such as: National Tribal Operations Council, Regional Tribal Operations Council, Tribal Science Council, Tribal Association on Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Tribal Pesticides Program Council, Forum on State and Tribal Toxic Action, and the newly forming Tribal Air Group. There were also Alaska Village Natives and inter-Tribal representatives.
The meeting's intent was for EPA to hear more from the Tribes on what the issues are and to establish a better way for EPA to work collaboratively with Tribes to ensure that all the efforts can make an impact.
Several important areas were discussed and several action items were developed at the meeting.
A major topic was the word "Subsistence" and whether another term should be used to improve the understanding of the "Subsistence" concerns of the Tribes. A need was identified to go back to consult with the Tribes and Villages to have a discussion on what appropriate term should be used that best describes what is being referred to since it encompasses so much. One interpretation taken from a document titled "Subsistence; A Scientific Collaboration Between Tribal Governments and EPA" defines it as:
Subsistence is about relationships between people and their surrounding environment, a way of living. Subsistence involves an intrinsic spiritual connection to the earth, and includes an understanding that the earth's resources will provide everything necessary for human survival. People who subsist from the earth's basic resources remain connected to those resources, living within the circle of life. Subsistence is about living in a way that will ensure the integrity of the earth's resources for the beneficial uses of generations to come.
Until further consultation with Tribes and Alaskan Villages, the term Tribal Traditional Lifeways may be offered in place of the term, "subsistence."
According to Don Aragon, Wind River/Tribal Representative to TOC and Indigenous Peoples Subcommittee of NEJAC, " Subsistence doesn't only impact Indians. It would behoove us not to leave out all the many people who rely on the earth's resources to support them. We're not rich corporate executives like we see on the news. In looking at these concerns, consider all the stakeholders and not just the Tribal people."
Activities/Next Steps Suggested by Tribal Representatives at Choctaw, Mississippi, September 2002
Tribal representatives want better communication between all EPA
Tribal advisory groups and EPA
Tribal representatives want EPA to address Tribal privacy, confidentiality, and intellectual property concerns
Tribal representatives want EPA's Strategic Plan to include protection of Tribal traditional lifeways work needs
Tribal representatives must be recognized within the state of environmental effort
Tribes must say what is needed to protect Tribal traditional lifeways
Tribal representatives must learn about EPA's needs in order to partner with Tribes on this protection effort
Tribal representatives should support the concept of a gathering (or summit) of indigenous people, along with federal and State agencies, on traditional lifeways
Tribal representatives need to form a Tribal Steering Committee
Tribal representatives want EPA to advise whether the Agency will commit to sponsoring such a gathering in conjunction with the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., in September 2004.
The Subsistence Technical Planning Meeting for the Protection of Traditional and Tribal Lifeways was hosted in Anchorage, Alaska. The natural state of the environment has always been a vital part of the indigenous way of life and culture; it has sustained Tribes through the ages. A threat to the life subsistence of indigenous people has been linked to the contamination of the environment; this has affected the health and the cultural identity of indigenous people.
During the April 12-16, 2003 meeting, environmental concerns affecting traditional lifeways and Tribal subsistence were discussed. Workshop participants included Tribal leaders, elders, environmental scientists, risk assessors, environmental directors, technical advisors, and EPA representatives.
Many of the following issues were raised during this workshop and goals were set:
Defining "subsistence" from the indigenous perspective
compared to the EPA perspective and vice versa
Identifying a set of assessment and communication tools that would enable Tribes to develop their own assessment of subsistence contamination
Identify scientific research and data gaps that exist
Share information and knowledge to help develop a process and a structure to protect traditional ways of life
Address the communication difficulties that exist between Tribes, EPA and other agencies
Marylouise Uhlig, Associate Assistant Administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS) said, "EPA's relationship with Tribes has been growing, but there is still a lot to be done. I hope over the next few days to listen and learn a lot more about how we can be more effective partners than we are today."
Goals for participants at the workshop were to define, understand, and name the issues relating to Tribal ways of life, traditional lifeways, and/or subsistence. The defined purpose was to enable agencies to recognize the issues and better serve Tribes.
However, how does an indigenous person interpret and describe the natural expression and emotion that is connected to the environment? It is not something that can be easily be categorized.
Activites/Nest Steps Suggested by Tribal Representatives at Anchorage, Alaska, April 2003
Tribal representatives want to maintain seed banks
Tribal representatives see Indian General Assistance Program (GAP) grants as a critical need
Tribal representatives want to incorporate traditional knowledge into hazard rating
Tribal representatives advise EPA to remember the smaller Tribes and include their voices
Tribes recommend that legislation may be enacted to address and protect Tribal traditional knowledge and lifeways
Tribal representatives want to create a national database to track plants and the contaminants that they may absorb
Tribal representatives also need to have an inter-agency workgroup that would represent the U.S. Department of Defense, EPA, etc.
Throughout the workshop, participants representing various Tribes described the concept of traditional lifeways and subsistence using a variation of terms. However there were several common themes such as the concept of culture and environment being intertwined. From the Tribal perspective, these elements cannot be separated, and this concept should be understood by federal agencies while working with Tribes.
One Tribal elder said, " those of you working for Tribes but not members, or for an agency, remember you're working with Indian people who view the land in a different way You must remember that you are dealing with Indian's feelings for that land. That is much different than for non-Indian lands. You can't be on a certain piece of land for thousands of years without having a deep connection to that land. My message to you is that while you're making management policies for our lands you must incorporate the culture and traditions within the management plan."
Another Tribal elder expressed a similar idea. According to him, "One of the things that we consider is that when we talk about community, we're not talking about humans, we're talking about plants, animals and people, and there is no hierarchy."
A further participant said, "When we are talking about resources and protecting them, our cultural resources and natural resources are the same. They are used for food, medicines, and spirituality. Protecting these things is protecting tribal culture. If those resources are damaged or eliminated, we've hurt the culture. Protection (of environment) means protection of the tribal culture."
The complexity of consistent communication on this topic between Tribes, agencies, and organizations was one of many issues being addressed.
Workshop participants agreed that improving communication and coordination between the various groups addressing these issues was a major goal of this meeting. It also is very important that the groundwork, history, background, and status of projects in progress be readily available for new participants at future meetings in order to discuss and move forward on these issues. The National Tribal Operations Committee was suggested as the potential group to communicate related activities and play the role of a central clearinghouse.
Many participants had questions about risk assessments used to develop "safe levels" because what EPA considers safe for the overall population may not be safe for Tribes due to their unique dietary and cultural lifeways.
It was mentioned that "EPA's challenge is to figure out how to understand the Native ways and weave into the bureaucracy, actions that can address these concerns.
Carole Jorgensen, Tlingit and EPA American Indian Environmental Office Director, expressed that she believes there is support within the Agency to work with the Tribes to address these issues and to look for opportunities to move forward in a collaborative manner. She said, "I constantly get calls from EPA colleagues asking how they can participate in working with the Tribes to identify these issues and find solutions." She also expressed her hope to find opportunities for meeting with Tribes to have two way discussions in a respectful, non-violating way. Tribal members know the environmental issues on their reservations best. Therefore, scientific studies of contaminants don't necessarily have to be conducted, and tribal people see and live it everyday. They already have the knowledge and the evidence that is needed to identify the issues. Jorgensen also said, " sometimes Tribes need to be careful about what they share (culturally) But on the other hand, elders are saying it is time to share this for the sake of the animals, plants, birds, fish, air, water and people, before it's too late.
Further ideas for addressing these issues included:
Distribute information prior to meeting so new participants could
call with questions, and therefore, improve the outcome of conference
calls and meetings
Find economical approaches for meeting and discussing these issues, such as establishing a 1-800 number or providing Tribes with calling cards.
Establish an information clearinghouse, perhaps a web page, where Tribes could search projects and gain knowledge of similar Agency/Tribal projects, as well as post notes from past meetings.
Develop a community resource directory to include contact information, as well as activity descriptions, for information or programs of interest.
Inform appropriate Tribal and federal staff unable to attend meetings of major meeting results and up-coming opportunities to get involved with the discussion.
Pyramid Lake, Nevada*
At Pyramid Lake, participants gathered during May 13-15, 2003 for the Tribal Traditional Lifeways Health and Well-Being Approach Workshop. The goals of this meeting were to:
Share and discuss the topic of health and well-being and traditional
knowledge and science in general terms
Explain the health and well being paradigm being developed by members of the National EPA Tribal Science Council (TSC)
Share stories about health and well being topics and the use of traditional knowledge and science
Discuss next steps.
Traditional knowledge and western science can include very different approaches a nd basic philosophies when compared to one another.
Over many generations, Tribes have developed a holistic traditional scientific knowledge of their lands, natural resources, and environment. Many have acknowledged that North American Tribes possess the greatest traditional scientific knowledge of botany in the world today. However, there have been examples where traditional knowledge and western science have been used together to produce a positive outcome, such as the discovery of the Hanta virus (1993), Ashkui Project, and climate studies of the Arctic.
Some Areas of Traditional Lifeways in Indian Country Now Threatened by Toxic Contaminants
contaminated deer and deer liver in the mid-Atlantic States.
Contaminated fish in the Northwest and New England States.
Contaminated sheep in Texas and the Southwest.
Toxic turtles in the Great Lakes.
Contaminated grains, grass and fruit in California and the Southwest.
Tribal Science Council (TSC) Health and Well-Being Paradigm
The current risk assessment methods used by EPA often are viewed by Tribal environmental managers as not suitable for Tribal communities. The model does not consider the impacts to cultural activities and ideals. The risk model can affect the health and vitality of Tribal communities and their unique identities to carry on the traditions and cultures for future generations. To allow the completion of the paradigm, there is a need to return back to the Tribal communities to learn how their health and well-being are being determined. A useful model, based upon the document "Cultural Ecosystems Stories," written by Terry Williams, Tulalip Tribes of Washington, includes the following:
A description of a community's historical relationship with its
natural resources and environment, as related through oral and other
traditions (e.g., stories)
A review of a community's current relationship with these natural
resources and environment, as well as their condition
A strategy developed by the community for managing natural resources and the environment that renew and maintain the community's historical relationships.
The TSC Health and Well-Being Paradigm under development by the EPA Tribal Science Council includes cultural indicators, such as community gathering activities, pow wows, ceremonies, blessings, cultural activities, and languages. Also, the paradigm includes health indicators, such as trends in both physical and mental health, as well as community indicators, such as trends in youth completing schools and trends within Tribal courts.
The paradigm also has natural resources indicators, such as reintroduction of native species, tracking of historical land uses, availability of uncontaminated natural resources to continue traditional practices, and availability of traditional resources to continue on with traditional practices (e.g., sweet grass, berries, clays, paint, and trees).
St. Regis Mohawk, A Unique Example of a Tribal Community at Risk and Its Solutions for Restoration
During the 1950's, the St. Lawrence River area attracted many industries due to the region's hydropower capabilities. It was then that the St. Regis Mohawks began to face serious environmental contamination issues. Common environmental contaminants were PCBs, fluorides, and other industrial pollutants, along with their by-products. Exposure to these contaminants resulted in adverse impacts on the health of the Mohawk communities. It was a decade later, that studies indicated that the fish were unfit for human consumption. At that time, the Tribe thought that their best option was to use fish advisories. Tribal members heeding the fish advisories greatly reduced the amount of fish that had been consumed historically. From this reduction in fish consumption, it became apparent that unintended consequences greatly impacted the health and well being of the Tribal community and culture.
The Tribal community, which was largely comprised of hunters, fishers, cattleman, and farmers, was greatly impacted as a result of the advisories. It was found that their way of life and personal identity and relationship to their environment quickly disappeared. This included their language and cultural activities tied to fishing, the historic economic base through fish harvesting, and consumption of their traditional diet consisting mainly of fish. This led to changes in their traditions and culture. The tradition grew from a fishing-oriented culture to one that included other foreign industries and diets. These changes resulted in more cigarette shops, gas stations, and non-traditional trading enterprises. Negative health impacts, such as diabetes, upper respiratory diseases, and thyroid disorders resulting from exposures to a Western diet also became apparent.
When the Tribe recognized these problems, it was able to address the issues and force the industries affecting their community to pay $500 million in clean-up and restoration activities. These efforts included the installation of fluoride scrubbers and removal of the PCBs from river sediments. Also, the Tribe was resourceful in seeking alternative traditional Tribal resources, such as deer farming, aquaculture, and restoration of native plant life. The Tribe also made special efforts to resume many cultural aspects, such as basket-weaving and food preparations.
In July 2003, a briefing was provided by James Ransom, Haudenosaunne Environmental Task Force, to 50 participants of a Tribal environmental conference at Akwesasne. The conference was hosted by the Akwesasne Community Task Force on the Environment and covered environmental issues related to the St. Lawrence River. During his presentation, Ransom highlighted all of the traditional Tribal lifeways meetings that had been held to date and addressed the future direction of this topic.
The Next Steps, A Tribal Perspective
by Kesner Flores
In anticipation of a National Tribal Lifeways Summit, some Tribes have recommended that it is essential to start coordinating and planning now. Funding opportunities must be investigated, dates and times need to be established, and a web site must be developed to facilitate the process. Also, people knowing other interested parties or organizations should submit their contacts' information. A National Tribal Lifeways Summit is a major endeavor that will require huge amounts of time and energy over the next year. In the past, we have shared our concerns and established goals of communication, development, outreach, and education. Now is the time to raise awareness in a broader arena.
Our goal for the National Tribal Lifeways Summit is to have a very respectful gathering of all people. The summit will not only include public statements, but will be a place for gathering. Also, what is said at a meeting is not always as important as the number of persons attending. Sometimes battles were won by show of force without a blow being struck. Thus, it is important to be there for the opening.
Recommendations for a Successful Summit:
Tribes, as well as national Tribal workgroups from all media (e.g.,
air, water, waste, and toxics) and the federal agencies need to communicate
information received at other meetings as a collective group.
Tribes need to evaluate the outcomes of other meetings and identify
ways to continue working on goals and initiatives. Tribes also need
to identify a responsible group or party.
There is no lead. This allows for loss of momentum. Tribal participants
shared and opened the door into their culture and existence. With proper
support and leadership, the outcomes from the Summit will benefit the
The national Tribal organizations are keeping it alive, along with
EPA's media offices. However, more concerted efforts by EPA media offices
and Tribal groups are needed in order to bring this effort to the level
of attention needed in the national arena.
The final results and meeting notes (or minutes) from the Anchorage,
Alaska, April 2003 meeting were sent to the Alaska Science Commission.
Tribes need to encourage EPA offices to designate a single point
of contact. Communication efforts will benefit from this, and participation
in Tribal Lifeways efforts will only improve. With participation from
everyone, we all benefit. We are dealing with the whole circle of life
and future generations.
One Tribal organization could take the lead to facilitate all Tribal
national and media-specific groups (e.g., TPPC, TSC, NTAA, NTEC, TASWER
and Superfund workgroups).
Some Tribes also have suggested that EPA's American Indian Environmental
Office and the National Tribal Environmental Council forge a partnership
to coordinate subsistence activities, such as planning the National
Tribal Lifeways Summit for Fall 2004.
If you are interested in this effort and want to assist or learn more about protecting traditional and Tribal Lifeways, please contact Kesner Flores, Wintun Environmental Protection Agency Director, P.O. Box 1839, 570 Sixth Street, Suite F, Williams, California, 95987, Tribalsub@hotmail.com.
Get to Know Kesner C. Flores, Jr.
Kesner C. Flores, Jr., is a member of the Cortina Indian Rancheria Band of California and has worked with the Tribe throughout his life. After serving in the U.S. military, Flores helped jumpstart the Tribe's health organization while working as a paramedic, as well as training and instructing personnel in pre-hospital care, disaster response and preparedness, and critical stress management.
For the past 10 years, Flores has served as Director of the Wintun Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Tribe's environmental department. Flores also represents his Tribe as a member of numerous national environmental organizations and executive committees. Also, he has consulted with Tribes on governmental relations, consultation, strategic planning, Tribal utility systems, and environmental concerns. Flores has helped facilitate partnerships with federal and State agencies in regards to Tribal concerns, create new national organizations, and address science and subsistence issues with Tribes on a national level. Currently, Kesner Flores, Jr. is working to strengthen communications between Tribal organizations and other agencies.
Miccosukee Resort, Florida
At the first annual meeting with the Tribal Operations Committee (TOC), Regional Tribal Operations Committee (RTOC), and the EPA American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO), meeting participants were updated on previous Tribal lifeways meetings and the outcomes of those meetings. The TOC/RTOC/AIEO meeting was held November 4-6, 2003 at the Miccosukee Resort in Florida. During an open discussion following the update, participants at the TOC/RTOC/AIEO meeting agreed that Tribal lifeways issues are inextricably linked to Tribal cultural and natural resource concerns. Participants also expressed many of the same Tribal lifeways concerns as those expressed at the previous meetings, including Tribal information confidentiality, cultural survival, and mining and contaminant impacts on Tribal communities.
Following the discussion, the TOC formally expressed support for:
A National Tribal Lifeways Summit to bring together Tribes and federal
agencies to advance Tribal lifeways issues
Establishment of a workgroup consisting of TOC, RTOC, and Tribal environmental group representatives to begin the planning process for a National Tribal Lifeways Summit
Appointment of Kesner Flores (TOC Region 9 Alternate) to develop and implement a communications policy to engage the TOC, RTOC, Tribal environmental groups, Tribes, and EPA in planning for the Summit.
Other Meetings That Focused on Traditional and Tribal Lifeways
Reno, Nevada, June 2002, Tribal Participants Meeting
San Francisco, California, December 2002, Planning and Discussion meeting of the upcoming Alaska Summit
Gila River, April - May 2003
*Summaries were based upon written reports from official notes taken at these meetings.
New Handbook on Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Realizing that traditional knowledge holders stand outside the fold of intellectual property (IP) rights and are most often negatively affected by them, the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program has created a handbook that attempts to make intellectual property issues and protection options more understandable and readily available for traditional knowledge holders, human rights NGOs, and legal professionals. Its ultimate goal is to help local communities understand and identify potential protection mechanisms already present in the current intellectual property rights regime that may be applied to their knowledge. For communities that do not wish to participate in the IP regime, it offers suggestions and options to avoid inappropriate claims on their knowledge by others. In addition to introducing intellectual property concepts, this handbook contains a series of exercises to help the user to identify and classify types of knowledge, cultural aspects, and community goals related to specific knowledge claims.
Through a series of exercises, it is possible for traditional knowledge holders to identify whether or not specific intellectual property protection options are relevant and/or appropriate for their knowledge.
An electronic version of the handbook is now available for download free of charge at: http://shr.aaas.org/tek/handbook/. Print copies will become available in the coming weeks for a nominal fee to cover printing and shipping charges. Check the web site for updates on distribution.
For more information, contact Stephen Hansen, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20005, email@example.com.
Considering Gender Roles in Environmental Policy and Management: A Navajo Perspective
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Vanessa Vandever, Navajo Nation
"Navajo interactions with [the environment] are characterized
by a strong sense of connectedness to and respect for all living things,
including the earth, which is personified as the beloved deity, Changing
Woman. An important aspect of maintaining harmonious relations with the
universe is the recognition of humankind's place in the web of life and
the acceptance that nature is more powerful than humans."
Recognition of gender roles within a culture must be incorporated into environmental policy and program development. Women and men have different relationships with the environment, depending on social and economic factors that shape these relationships. Thus, policies and programs may affect women and men negatively when they do not take into account gender roles. In order to adopt policies that are effective and beneficial, both industrialized and developing countries must work to recognize how outside forces, such as structures created by the market economy, interact with cultural norms at the macro and micro levels of a society.
Many indigenous peoples have matrilineal (or ancestral) and matrilocal social systems that influence how the environment and land are perceived, used, and inherited. The Navajo Nation from inside the United States borders is a compelling example of how traditional gender roles affect resource management. The Navajo Nation is a matrilineal and matrilocal society that is currently confronted with environmental management issues that stem from outside influence on gender roles. Although submersed within the capitalistic patri-biased American society, the Navajo people nevertheless continue to identify themselves with their mother's clan.
The roles of Navajo men and women are highly dependent on and influenced by the environment (i.e. market systems). As with many developing nations, the Navajo people continue to live off and depend on the land. Natural resource extraction provides a source of livelihood for many Navajos. The current conflict and concern over natural resource extraction is closely associated with the differences in how Navajo women and men relate to the environment and the land. Navajo culture has traditionally associated the environment with female strength and differentiations between the genders. In fact, the Navajo people have always illustrated the importance of gender roles and kinship systems through their creation stories and religious beliefs.
Although creation stories have depicted the struggle of power between sexes, the fundamental message of the stories is that both genders are to contribute equally to establish the harmony that is so vital for the survival of Navajo people. In fact, the relationship to the environment around Navajo people is distinguished by associating natural elements with gender. For example, gender distinctions in creation stories include mother earth and father sky; female rain and male rain; and dawn girl and dawn boy. Furthermore, most Navajo deities are female, including Changing Woman, Spider Woman, and White Shell Woman. The female gender has great significance within the Navajo teachings because femaleness represents the power to create life.
In the contemporary world, changing economic and social systems have resulted in transformations within matrilineal and matrilocal societies. For example, on the Navajo reservation, the economic and social structures have come to mirror the western structure. A tension has been created between traditional Navajo and western beliefs/practices, forcing the Navajo people to live with an irresolvable dichotomy in order to survive in a patri-biased capitalist structure. In the past, Navajo women have been leaders in decision-making and have controlled the land. Since the women inherited the land and had a greater vested interest, they historically worked more closely with their environment. Although many Navajo people continue to value the role of women in the decision-making process, the current structure does not allow for significant female participation. Furthermore, due to pressures from outside forces, inheritance practices have transformed by certain degrees, depending on land use practices in particular areas, and have decreased women's control of the land.
The importance of gender roles in environmental policy is vividly demonstrated by the controversy over the natural resource extraction of coal mining on Black Mesa in Arizona. Coal mining on Black Mesa has transformed traditional Navajo practices and lifestyles and become one of the largest revenue bases for the Navajo Nation. It has also become an extremely controversial land use issue because of the strip mining that is transported by a slurry line, which is depleting the N-aquifer at an astounding rate. Because Black Mesa is one of the more secluded areas on the Navajo Reservation, the traditional gender roles are still apparent, and the culture is primarily matrilineal and matrilocal. The effect of coal mining on the land is heightened for Navajo women since they will inherit this land and have a vested interest in best land use practices. Although the current patri-biased system of governance does not acknowledge Navajo women's role as decision-makers, the Navajo women are fighting back and are regaining power by forming a grassroots activist organization against the strip mining. As a result, Navajo women on Black Mesa have been the driving force behind educating their children and whole communities about the environmental degradation caused by coal mining. Even more importantly, the women are replacing the ideologies of modern patri-biased industrialized nations with a holistic view of the world. Navajo women are empowering whole communities to return to traditional beliefs/practices.
As is demonstrated by the Black Mesa conflict, effective policy requires gender role structures to be examined at the macro and micro levels. Gender roles are fundamentally related to environmental issues for the Navajo people. In order to correct the current situation, Navajo women must not only be given support by men at the decision-making level, but they must once again be full and powerful participants in the decision-making process. On a global level, differentiations between gender roles within many industrial and developing cultures are associated with environmental use and practices. Therefore, strategies to revive the female participation (rather than patri-biased control) within environmental policy and program development are critical for the world to adopt policies and lifestyles that create a sustainable use of resources.
The Tribal Effective Asthma Management Project (TEAM)
Office of Radiation and Indoor Air
Recent asthma prevalence studies have indicated that some Tribes within EPA Region VIII have an asthma prevalence rate that is up to 2.5 times higher than the national average. Additionally these studies have indicated a strong need for an effective and comprehensive approach to improve and expand the delivery of asthma management programs to the Tribes of Region VIII.
In response to these studies, the Radiation and Indoor Environment team of Region VIII has been collaborating with the Tribal Assistance Program and Indian Health Services as well as other sister agencies to design and implement the Tribal Effective Asthma Management (TEAM) Project. Unlike past programs, TEAM is designed to develop Tribal community capacity in assessing, understanding, and reducing exposure to environmental triggers of asthma. The project also outlines goals that will achieve positive outcomes that improve the patient's quality of life and provide a culturally sensitive and coordinated delivery of asthma care.
TEAM will use Tribal Community Health Representatives to ensure that the delivery of asthma care will be sensitive to singular Tribal needs. The use of Tribal CHR's will be instrumental in improving patient understanding of the disease process, learning to reduce exposure to environmental triggers, and thus increase patient compliance in following asthma management plans.
For more information on the TEAM Project, please contact Region 8 Asthma Coordinator Erin Collard at 303-312-6361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal Air Rules for Indian Reservations in EPA Region 10
Region 10 Office of Air Quality
EPA's Federal Air Rules for Indian Reservations in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington were proposed in the Federal Register on March 15, 2002. These rules, when finalized, will be an important step in ensuring basic air quality protection for a quarter million people on 39 Indian reservations in the Pacific Northwest. The rules range from emission limits for industrial sources to a general open burning rule, and they are the first building blocks under the Clean Air Act to address such air quality issues. EPA is proceeding with final promulgation and anticipates finalizing the rules in the summer of 2004.
EPA Office of Air and Radiation Highlights the TAMS Learning Center
Office of Air and Radiation
The Tribal Air Monitoring (TAMS) Learning Center serves as a training center that assists Tribes with a variety of environmental needs, including training for air monitoring and outdoor ambient air quality. The TAMS Learning Center is located in Flagstaff, Arizona and was created in partnership by the Northern Arizona University Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP), EPA, and Tribes. The Center provides about ten, weeklong workshops per year, and it's staff also provides training in the field for individuals or Tribal organizations. Some of this training includes equipment operation, environmental program development, data management, quality assurance and quality control, reporting, data analysis, and data interpretation/assessment.
By providing training and assistance in environmental work, the TAMS Center staff participates in cross-media environmental awareness, assists EPA in revising environmental regulations, develops new technologies in partnership with industry, and encourages communication and technology transfer.
The TAMS Learning Center also promotes the importance of Native American culture and traditions as it houses displays of Native American-themed art. Future plans for the Center include arts and crafts exhibits.
More information on the TAMS Learning Center, including conference and meeting hosting, may be obtained by contacting Lee Anderson at 702-798-2559.
Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona's Circuit Rider Responds to Growing tribal Asthma Issues
Office of Radiation and indoor Air
Adapted from Tribal Air News, August 2003, Volume 2, Issue 3
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects more than 15 million people throughout the country, particularly disadvantaged populations and low-income communities, including some American Indians communities. The prevalence of asthma among American Indians has increased severely in the past few years, and according to reports and studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma is one of the top 10 causes of death among American Indians/Alaskan Natives.
To address growing trends of asthma in Tribal homes, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) has collaborated with EPA and other asthma risk reduction programs to design a program to educate American Indian families about indoor triggers within homes that may worsen or aggravate asthma. The program also addresses school absenteeism due to indoor air quality hazards and respiratory illnesses.
In July 2003, ITCA's Circuit Rider began traveling within Arizona and surrounding areas to conduct the Asthma Tribal Community Training Program. The Circuit Rider provided asthma risk reduction training, workshops, materials and technical assistance to interested Tribes. The Asthma Tribal Community Training Program is comprised of two components, the "Asthma 101: Introduction to Asthma and Its Indoor Triggers" training and resource manual and the "Asthma Program Development" manual.
In addition to the Asthma Tribal Community Training Program training manuals, ITCA also developed the following outreach and education materials for Tribal communities:
Put Out Asthma Fire Poster
Top Ten Asthma Triggers Magnet
My Asthma Management Memo Board.
All workshops and training materials are available to all Tribal nations. For additional questions on training or asthma awareness workshops, please contact Tamera Dawes, the ITCA Tribal Indoor Air/Asthma Risk Reduction Program Coordinator at 602-258-4822 or email@example.com.
ITEP Director Receives Air Quality Award for Work with Indian Tribes
Office of Air and Radiation
Adapted from Tribal Air News, August 2003, Volume 2, Issue 3
Virgil Masayesva, Director of the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP), was presented with the Mike Frost Memorial Achievement Award on April 30, 2003. The award was given for Masayesva's work in leading ITEP in air quality training and support work on behalf of Indian Tribes throughout the United States. ITEP is a national Tribal environmental training and support organization based at Northern Arizona University's Dubois Center, in Flagstaff, Arizona. For ten years, ITEP has trained more than 800 Tribal professionals in environmental management and maintains a variety of programs in specialized support, training, and K-12 environmental education.
Masayesva received the award from the National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC). During his acceptance speech, Masayesva said, "It is especially an honor and a privilege for me to accept this award because Mike Frost was a very close personal friend, and of course he was a colleague. I knew Mike since 1993, when he was the first Tribal air quality professional we recruited to help develop what is now called our American Indian Air Quality Training Program. Mike was instrumental in getting ITEP off and running "
The award was created in memory of Mike Frost, former Director of Environmental Programs for the Southern Ute Tribe in Colorado. Frost was an accomplished, Tribal air quality professional who passed in 1998.
EPA Video on New Source Review Program for Indian Country
Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards
Adapted from Tribal Air News, August 2003, Volume 2, Issue 3
In order to communicate EPA's Clean Air Act New Source Review (NSR) program, the Agency will produce a video to enhance outreach to Tribes. The video will also highlight new rules that EPA is proposing to fill NSR regulatory gaps in Indian Country, including a minor NSR rule.
EPA hopes that the video will:
Give Tribes that have not been involved in this rule development
process a basic primer on NSR and how these rules may affect them
Help Tribes comment on the rules effectively during the official public comment period
Enable Tribes to participate in implementation in a way that is right for them.
The video may be released as early Fall 2003. The Agency is producing the video in partnership with Tribal air organizations, including the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP). The video allows EPA to be creative in its outreach efforts to Tribes that may not have much experience with NSR. For example, the video will highlight specific, NSR-related stories of Tribes with relevant experiences and will feature Tribal environmental professionals and leaders speaking about the benefits of these rules, as well as their ideas and concerns about the rules as they are currently drafted.
For more information about EPA's forthcoming NSR rules for Indian country, or to comment on the draft rules before proposal, contact Laura McKelvey, EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, at 919-541-5497 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the NSR video, contact Michele Dubow, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, at 919-541-3803 or email@example.com.
Air Quality Data Work Group Formed
Office of Air and Radiation
Adapted from Tribal Air News, August 2003, Volume 2, Issue 3
Several Tribes have expressed concern about how Tribal data is currently entered and housed in EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) database, which contains measurements of criteria air pollutant concentrations in the United States, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. AQS requires Tribes to enter data under state and county codes, but some Tribes are concerned that this process of data entry does not consider Tribal sovereignty. EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards is interested in addressing this concern and would like to set up a workgroup with the Tribes, Regions and other EPA media offices to explore options that may address this concern and modify AQS. Readers who are interested in participating should contact Laura McKelvey at 919-541-5497 or firstname.lastname@example.org Nick Mangus at 919-541-5549 or email@example.com. Need to check for a deadline or period for comments.
Tribal Emission Inventory Software System Developed
Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards
Adapted from Tribal Air News, August 2003, Volume 2, Issue 3
The Tribal Emission Inventory Software System (TEISS) is a project sponsored by the Western Regional Air Partnership's (WRAP) Tribal Data Development Working Group (TDDWG) and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP). TEISS is a software tool that can be used to calculate emission estimates for area, mobile, and point sources specific to Tribal lands. The TEISS also will use a Geographic Information System (GIS) interface to facilitate development, analysis, and presentation of the emissions inventory data.
TEISS was developed in order to:
Create emission inventory software with a user-friendly interface
to facilitate emission inventories for Tribal lands
Calculate technically defensible emission estimates that will meet the needs of Tribes and WRAP
Create clear reports and maps that support the needs of Tribal air quality programs and WRAP.
TEISS is scheduled to be released in early 2004 and will be made available to all Tribes.
Tribal Air News is a quarterly, government publication produced by EPA's Office of Air and Radiation and Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. The newsletter publishes articles of interest highlighting air-related activities in Tribal communities and organizations. The Tribal Air web site, www.epa.gov/air/Tribal also publishes similar news items.
The Power of Wind: A Rosebud Reservation Success Story
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Vanessa Vandever, Navajo
Native American people, whether from the Southwest or the Plains, believe the wind has great power. For this reason, many Native American Tribes view the wind as a holy symbol. As a result, wind power has become an avenue for Tribes to reclaim their sovereignty through economic self-sufficiency. More importantly, wind energy is a clean and renewable energy that has the potential to replace the Native Reservations' dependence on natural resource exploitation.
The Rosebud Sioux of the Northern Great Plains opened the first Tribally owned wind generator in May 2003. The unfavorable economic statistics of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation will be challenged with this 750-kilowatt wind turbine, which can produce enough electricity to serve about 300 to 350 houses according to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utility Commission and InterTribal Council on Utility Policy (ICOUP). The 750-kilowatt wind turbine has been made possible through the partnership between the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility Commission and the InterTribal Council on Utility Policy, as well as their collaboration with Tribal and non-Tribal organizations and government and non-government organizations.
The current president of Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility Commission, Ronald L. Neiss, recalls the introduction of wind development on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in an interview conducted in a Green Power Pioneer publication. Wind development was a vision that the late Alex "Little Soldier" Lunderman, who served as the president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utility Commission right up to his death, had for the Sicangu Oyate (Burnt Thigh Lakota People) on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Lunderman believed in the use of modern technology as well as traditional resources in a way that was compatible with the history, philosophy, and cultural and spiritual values. In a vision, Lunderman saw a long line of people behind him walking toward a traditional teepee. Inside the teepee were computers and other kinds of technologies that could be used to protect Mother Earth. He later stated that being able to generate clean electricity from the Four Winds could help the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
With the 750-kilowatt wind turbine in only its first stages, the full potential of wind energy on Tribal lands is yet to be known. According to Robert Gough, Secretary of InterTribal Council on Utility Policy, "the Indian reservation wind potential in just North and South Dakota exceeds well over 200,000 megawatts, which is over 100 times the currently available hydropower generation capacity of the Missouri River." Furthermore, the potential wind power on the reservation would replace the short-term and usually harmful economic growth with long-term economic growth.
The United States is one of the greatest energy consuming countries in the world, which means Americans are one of the greatest contributors to global climate change. At a more local level, Native communities are greatly increasing energy consumption due to casino development. To counteract the amount of energy being consumed by Americans, communities, cities, and states in the United States must work together to decrease the rate at which the global climate is changing. The Rosebud Sioux Reservation has taken a major step in the direction of renewable energy regeneration and reopened the doors to sustainable economic development.
States and Tribes Work Together to Address P2 Opportunities
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Working through the auspices of EPA's Forum on State and Tribal Toxics action (FOSTTA), representatives from states and Tribes met in June 2003 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut to outline opportunities for cooperative efforts to promote pollution prevention for Tribal activities. Jointly, the representatives identified a number of priority areas, including:
Lead, coordinating with Health Departments and the Chemical Information
TMDL and Water Quality
Air Quality, especially Ozone and Diesel Fuel Issues
Pollution Prevention (P2)
Toxics, especially Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, and Selenium
Environmental Management Systems (EMS).
Funding opportunities were identified as an item of particular importance, and the participants agreed to work together to coordinate with state P2 programs to identify funding opportunities and resource sharing. In addition, participants will look to coordinate grant and funding opportunities, seek options for changing, or meet match requirements to improve the level of participation by Tribes.
The states and Tribes will work with EPA to establish a Tribal Internet site and provide for Tribal Peer Review of information and selected strategies, as well as establish regular conference calls with representatives from the three FOSTTA projects and EPA. In addition, the states agreed to work with the National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC) and the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) to coordinate and improve effective communication with Tribal governments.
Representatives also focused on the initiative to address lead-based paint concerns. Participants agreed to work with EPA's Office of Research and Development to assist in identifying opportunities to provide Health and Environmental Education. Participants also will coordinate with ECOS to identify various Tribal issues and priorities and seek opportunities through other federal agencies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and State programs to address lead abatement. Participants will work together to connect Tribes to the P2 Resources Exchange Centers and seek funding to improve access and information sharing.
On a larger scale, participants will work with EPA and the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) to conduct a National Tribal Pollution Prevention conference. The National Tribal Pollution Prevention Conference may be linked to an existing conference in order to maximize opportunities for participation.
This meeting represents the beginning of an initiative to address pollution prevention issues with a specific focus on Tribal issues. This joint effort will add to existing research and information to benefit States and Tribes as they carry out their programs to protect public health and the environment.
An Example of Achieving Pollution Prevention
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Adapted from "Visionary Planning for the Seventh Generation"
"It has to be good for the environment, and it has to be good
-Chief Ralph Sturges, Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut
The Mohegan Sun Casino was created by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut in 1996. Chief Ralph Sturges of the Mohegan Tribe led the construction of this grand casino with the help of Dr. Norm Richards. His goal was to create a building that would benefit the members of his Tribe, yet conserve the environment and resources surrounding them. Chief Sturges and Dr. Richards were able to do this by incorporating pollution prevention and the framework of "systems thinking" to analyze how different parts of a whole are connected.
The team focused on energy use, transportation, and recycling. Instead of receiving energy from coal-fired power plants, the Mohegan Sun relies on fuel cells fed by natural gas. Fuel cells fed by natural gas provide electricity with more efficiency than coal-fired power plants. "Using less energy results in less pollution. Using less energy also saves money." Through an agreement with UTC Fuel Cells, the Mohegan Sun Casino agreed to become a test site and was granted use of fuel cells at no cost. Also, the hot water produced from fuel cells is recycled as preheated water for the boilers, as well as for the chillers within the casino.
Each guest room at the casino also includes infrared sensors. The sensors track whether or not a room is being used. If no one occupies the room, air conditioning and heating loads are not initiated. This further decreases energy usage at the casino. The reduction of CO2 emissions from cars also was a priority. Therefore, Sturges and Richards decided to use fleet hybrid vehicles and diesel automobiles requiring reformulated diesel fuel, and a partnership with the local school district allows the casino to save money with the purchase of bulk fuel.
Pollution prevention through recycling was incorporated within the casino food service division. All employees empty their cups and separate the waste before leaving the cafeteria. Waste materials that can be recycled are placed in individual collection containers. Used cooking oil is recycled and sold for income, while local hog farmers receive the casino's recycled food wastes resell their pork to the Mohegan Sun. The casino also hopes to install a "digester" to generate natural gas from manure, which can be used in the fuel cells to generate electricity.
For more information regarding the Mohegan Sun Casino, readers may contact management at 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, Connecticut, 06382, 888-226-7711. To share your Tribe's pollution prevention success story, readers may contact Mary Lauterbach, EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue (MC7408M), Washington, DC 20460, 202-564-8821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Onjiakiing-From the Earth, Non-Medicinal Uses of Plants
Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
"Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents;
it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from
our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children."
(Ancient Indian Proverb)
"Treating the Earth well " is a basic principle for environmental protection.
OPPTS Tribal News strives to promote a two-way dialogue between EPA and the American Indian Tribes. In keeping with that goal, OPPTS would like to highlight the CD-ROM Onjiakiing-From the Earth, Non-Medicinal Uses of Plants, produced by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC).
Problems with the environment and the information telling us what is wrong can be overwhelming at times. GLIFWC sent OPPTS this special CD-ROM that takes an alternative approach to communicating negative issues of the environment. The CD-ROM is a moving compilation, concerned with wild plants in the ceded territories of the Great Lakes region and provides detailed descriptions of the threats to the plants, by way of Tribal elders, as well as evidence from scientific studies.
Besides results from scientific studies of the threats to the plant life in the Great Lakes region, GLIFWC also has provided a detailed listing of threatened plants and their uses. GLIFWC also included interview transcripts, recipes, and traditional stories that stress the value of these threatened plants.
Men and women shared family stories of plant use-everything from Dandelion recipes to dyes. Mildred Ackley McGeshick, a Mole Lake elder, shared a story of her mother's dye recipe. "She mixed colors and added apple juice and she would get old dandelion wine from neighbors that had turned to vinegar, add that, so the color stayed. She collected all year round bark, weegup, and cedar. She soaked the weegup in hot water and then put it in the dye, it was also hot, then dried it. She rolled it or wrapped it. My dad would cut the cedar sticks. They always were looking for more supplies. She in later years, when she had money she would buy rit dye. But when you don't have a car and no money, she said in mother earth you had everything you needed. She would peel the weegup and dried it and when she needed it would soak it. My mother was artistic, she made a lot of crafts, canoes, teepees, beadwork, etc."
Sylvia Cloud told a story of her grandmother. "When we would go camping, we camped out at the sloughs and we camped out at the sugar bush and all that when I was a kid. My Gramma always picked the teas you know, late summer and that. She always had mint. And when we camped out she always put that mint around you know where we'd sleep and that. And ah, the bugs don't like the mint and ah, my mother didn't have any mint and one time she went and got some Doublemint gum and put that all over the round so the ants don't come in [laughing]. She put that all around so it worked. That was what they used to keep the bugs out."
This CD-ROM provides an alternative to conventional education. It is a way to pass on the acknowledgment of the threats and reasons for bringing attention to this subject.
For more information, please contact the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission at P.O. Box 9, 100 Maple Street, Odanah, Wisconsin, 54861, 715 682-6619, www.glifwc.org.
The Indian Program Policy Council, Senior Management at EPA Steps Up to the Continuing Challenge
American Indian Environmental Office
At the request of Bill Muszynski, former EPA Region 2 Deputy Administrator, a memo was sent in March 2003 convening the Indian Program Policy Council (IPPC)1. The memo, signed by Tracy Mehan, Assistant Administrator for Water, and Jane M. Kenny, EPA Region 2 Administrator, highlighted the importance of having a senior leadership forum to discuss agency-wide issues in Indian country.
The mission of the IPPC is to advise and support the Agency on major policy, science, and implementation issues affecting EPA programs and activities in order to enhance protection of the environment and human health in Indian country.
The purpose of the IPPC is to ensure early and effective involvement of EPA senior management in the identification and resolution of Agency-wide Indian program policy issues:
To create a common understanding of tribal activities and issues
among EPA programs offices and Regions
To serve as a forum for discussing Agency-wide issues affecting Indian country
To strengthen intra-Agency coordination and promote cohesive, consistent programmatic support regarding tribal activities
To promote multi-media, multi-office solutions to environmental problems in Indian country
To discuss inter-Agency issues of concern and promote inter-Agency coordination and solutions to environmental problems in Indian country
To address specific issues identified by the IPPC members
To provide for Agency-wide consideration of environmental problems in Indian country, development of an integrated approach to address these problems, and oversight of the implementation of a long-term, integrated Indian program plan.
STRUCTURE AND MEMBERSHIP
The IPPC is composed of two groups, the Council and a Steering Committee. The Council consists of Agency senior management representatives to the EPA National Tribal Operations Committee, excluding the Administrator and Deputy Administrator. The Council is co-chaired by TOC representatives from the Office of Water and the Deputy Regional Administrator of the Lead Region for the EPA Indian Program.
The Council created a Steering Committee, which consists of one representative of each member of the Council. These representatives are selected by the Council members to represent and speak on behalf of a Council member's Office. The Steering Committee is chaired by the American Indian Environmental Office Director. The Steering Committee will:
Identify cross-program, cross-media policy issues of major concern
to EPA headquarters, Regions, and other federal agencies
Elevate issues to the full Council
Develop agendas and ensure development of meeting materials for Council meetings
Communicate IPPC activities and decisions to EPA program offices and Regions
Monitor the status of Council decisions and report back to the Council
Recommend when additional Council meetings may be necessary.
The IPPC had one organizing meeting, and a second meeting is planned to discuss its priorities over the next year. The goal is to have the IPPC meet at least quarterly, or more often if necessary or at the request of the Steering Committee.
1. Announcing Environmental Information Exchange Network Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2004
Tribal Wind Power - A Viable Strategy for Community Revitalization and Capacity
Office of Environmental Justice
To promote sustainable economic development in Indian country, the Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice chose the "Tribal Wind Power" project as one of its 2003 Revitalization Demonstration Projects. Over the past ten years, a confederation of Tribes in the Northern Great Plains brought a visionary plan to harness wind energy for Tribal economic development from a dream to reality. The InterTribal Council on Utility Policy (ICOUP), the confederation of federally recognized Tribes in the Northern Great Plains, has completed the unprecedented installation of a 750 kW-wind turbine. Through partnerships with federal agencies, ICOUP seeks to demonstrate that the development of wind energy can be a viable strategy to provide for future economic, cultural, and community revitalization through the development of sustainable Tribal economies. By promoting renewable energy generation to federal and private markets within and beyond the region, the project also helps meet the Nation's need for renewable, clean, and environmentally safe energy sources. As President George Bush stated in Executive Order 13212, " the increased production and transmission of energy in a safe and environmentally sound manner is essential to the well-being of all American people."
The wind turbine will be owned and operated by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Additional information on the project can be found at www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/publications/ej/iwg_2003_demo_projects.pdf. For more information, please contact Daniel Gogal at 202-564-2576 or email@example.com.
Consultation on Properties of Religious and Cultural Significance to Tribes
Office of Environmental Justice
The protection of Tribal cultural resources and sacred places is a primary concern of many Native Americans. In order to enhance the protection of these resources and places, the Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice is working to assist federal agencies and other interested parties in identifying Indian Tribes that must be consulted prior to federal undertakings which may impact Tribal historic or cultural properties. These historic properties tend to have religious and cultural significance to the Tribes.
The IWG is conducting this work through the leadership of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), a federal agency responsible for overseeing the implementation of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The project is one of the IWG's demonstration projects that promote interagency collaboration and coordination to more effectively provide for healthy and sustainable communities.
The pilot project involves Tribes in Colorado, New Mexico, and Louisiana. ACHP is seeking funding from various agencies to expand the project to include more Tribes. For additional information, contact Daniel Gogal, Co-Chair of IWG's Native American Task Force, EPA, Office of Environmental Justice, at 202-564-2576 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers also may visit http://126.96.36.199/ACHP or www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/interagency/index.html.
New Collaborative Problem-Solving Grants Program Established
Office of Environmental Justice
EPA's Office of Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Grants Program (CPS) was established in 2003 to provide financial assistance to eligible community-based organizations working to address local environmental and/or public health concerns. The grants program is based on EPA's Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-solving Model. The model was developed with the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice. A report on the model can be found at www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/publications/ej/iwg-status-02042002.pdf.
Only community-based, non-profit, non-governmental organizations located in the same vicinity as the project are eligible to apply for a grant. Grant awards will total $100,000 each and should be used over a three-year period. Grant awardees from the first set of applications, which were due September 30, 2003, will be announced by January 2004. OEJ is hopeful that program funding will be available again in fiscal year 2004. Additional information on the grants program can be found at www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-cps-grants.html.
EPA's Compliance Assistance Centers
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
EPA announces new Compliance Assistance Centers for small- and medium-sized businesses in the auto recycling and construction sectors. These new centers, the Environmental Compliance Automotive Recyclers Center (ECARcenter) and Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center (CICAcenter) help customers increase their understanding and compliance with environmental regulations.
The ECARcenter provides information on related, state and federal environmental rules for auto recycling facilities, as well as a virtual tour covering topics that range from handling used antifreeze to wastewater disposal.
The CICAcenter allows builders and developers access to applicable environmental regulations and to compliance resources.
For more information on these new centers and others, visit www.assistancecenters.net or any of the highlighted web sites:
Border Center, www.bordercenter.org, for
businesses importing hazardous waste across the U.S. - Mexico Border
Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center, www.cicacenter.org, for contractors and builders/developers
CCAR-GreenLink, www.ccar-greenlink.org, for the auto service and repair community
ChemAlliance, www.chemalliance.org, for chemical manufacturers
Environmental Compliance for Automotive Recyclers, www.ECARcenter.org, for automotive recyclers
Local Government Environmental Assistance Network, www.lgean.org, for local government officials
National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center, www.epa.gov/agriculture, for the agricultural community
National Metal Finishing Resource Center, www.nmfrc.org, for the metal finishing industry
Paints and Coatings Resource Center, www.paintcenter.org, for organic coating facilities
Printed Wiring Board Resource Center, www.pwbrc.org, for printed wiring board manufacturers
Printers National Environmental Assistance Center, www.pneac.org, for the printing industry
Transportation Environmental Resource Center, www.transource.org, for the air, shipping, barging, rail and trucking industries
FedSite, www.epa.gov/fedsite, for federal departments and agencies
New Publications Available at EPA's Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
The agricultural community depends on EPA's Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center (AgCenter) for up-to-date information on environmental regulations affecting their industry. Currently, the AgCenter has made available new EPA publications for the livestock agriculture sectors, including the beef, poultry, swine, and dairy sectors. The four, new environmental stewardship brochures focus on best environmental management practices for these livestock sectors. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/agriculture or contact the AgCenter at 888-663-2155 or email@example.com.
LGEAN Publishes New Fact Sheets
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
The Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN) has recently published three new fact sheets on local government environmental liability relating to air quality, solid waste, and wastewater. The fact sheets highlight environmental violations that may result in fines, criminal penalties, and litigation.
For more information, visit www.lgean.org or contact LGEAN at 877-TO-LGEAN or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Announcing Environmental Information Exchange Network Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2004
EPA announces that the Environmental Information Exchange Network Grant Program is now soliciting pre-proposals for the Program. The Exchange Network is an Internet and standards-based information systems network among EPA and its partners in States, Tribes, and territories. It is designed to help integrate information, provide secure real-time access to environmental information, and support the electronic storage and collection of high-quality data and information. The Exchange Network provides a more efficient way of exchanging environmental information at all levels of government and with the public. It revolutionizes the way in which information is sent to and received by EPA and its State, Tribal, and territorial partners. For examples of projects that EPa has funded in the past, please see the State and Tribal summaries of proposals that are available on the Exchange Network Grant Program Web site at www.epa.gov/Networkg.
Pre-proposals must be received electronically at email@example.com no later than February 3, 2004.
Protecting U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico Border Regions
Office of International Affairs, Western Hemisphere
The U.S. border with Canada is approximately 5,500 miles, and the U.S. border with Mexico is approximately 2,000 miles. Many Tribes live along these two long U.S. borders within watersheds and airsheds which require multi-year bi-national cooperation to help ensure that human health and ecosystems are adequately protected. The federal governments of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico carry out bi-national co-leadership and partnership roles and responsibilities to help ensure that border regions are protected.
Along both U.S. borders, many international efforts - including a great amount of regional and local transborder cooperation - monitor and assess conditions, and prevent, as well as control, air, water, waste, and other pollution to ensure that human health, wildlife, and their habitats are protected. In a number of U.S. border regions, remediation of historic pollution areas (e.g., contaminated land or toxic sediment in waterways) has been completed or is near completion to restore impaired and adversely impacted environmental conditions. This article highlights human health and ecosystems protection challenges, goals, and unfinished agendas of Tribes and EPA, as shared with others in U.S. international border regions.
A number of major bi-national environmental agreements between Canada and the U.S. and between Mexico and the U.S. serve as important frameworks to help protect people and ecosystems in U.S. border regions. Many of these major bi-national agreements are fulfilled and assisted by use of regional agreements and frameworks, which may include a partnership among federal, provincial, state, Tribal, and First Nation agencies. A substantial amount of binational cooperation to fulfill binational agreements and goals on shared watersheds includes involvement and assistance of the U.S.-Canada International Joint Commission (IJC). These bi-national agreements, frameworks, and efforts along both U.S. borders cover many worthy unfinished agendas which include many health and ecosystem protection goals.
Binational Environmental Agreements
Major U.S.-Canada agreements covering health and environmental protection along the border include the 1990 Boundary Waters Treaty, 1991 Air Quality Agreement, 1986 Agreement Concerning the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste, 1994 Joint Inland Pollution Contingency Plan, and 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, as amended in 1987. The IJC carries out major responsibilities assisting the two countries with the Boundary Waters Treaty, Air Quality Agreement, and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
A major U.S.-Mexico border agreement, known as the 1983 La Paz Agreement, covers air, water, waste pollution control, and emergency preparedness and response along the border. Also, the two countries are assisted by the U.S.-Mexico International Boundary and Water Commission, the Bi-national Environment Cooperation Commission, and the North American Development Bank.
Requirements, Goals, and Unfinished Agendas Along the U.S.-Canada Border
The U.S.-Canada inland border of 5,500 miles includes many bi-national watersheds, U.S. Tribal reservations and nations, and Canadian First Nations. Along this extensive border, a great amount of environmental protection work remains to be completed to help ensure that indigenous people, their lands, and their waters are protected.
For over 90 years, the U.S.-Canada Boundary Waters Treaty has been in place for the purpose of preventing and controlling water pollution to prevent harm to people and the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of boundary waters, including protection of migratory fisheries. This Treaty is intended to influence the development and use of holistic and integrated approaches to address boundary water flows, levels, quantities, and water quality concerns and goals, including the protection of aquatic wildlife and their habitats.
In 1998, the U.S. and Canadian governments asked their International Joint Commission to help the two countries explore, develop, and implement new and improved IJC bi-national approaches to achieve more holistic management and protection of U.S.-Canada watershed's ecosystems. This long-term 1998 Canada-U.S.-IJC Treaty initiative includes goals to improve cooperation and strengthen partnerships with U.S. Tribes, First Nations, and Tribal nations and alliances that span the border.
The Boundary Waters Treaty focuses on the following issues and challenges a mong EPA and Tribes.
An IJC watershed board, which helps implement the above 1998 Canada-U.S.-IJC
Treaty initiative, is underway for the New Brunswick-Maine St. Croix
River watershed. During 2003, EPA and the Passamaquoddy Tribe developed
new work on non-point sources of water pollution and on alewives research
in the St. Croix River watershed.
Federal, provincial, state, Tribal, and First Nation governments are working together in long-term efforts through program work of the Binational Executive Committee of the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Waters Quality Agreement (GLWQA). Significant public and private sector efforts are dedicated to the reduction and elimination of persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) pollution discharges in the Great Lakes-upper St. Lawrence River Basin ecosystem, including efforts to reduce various PBT concentrations in fish. Tribes involved include the St. Regis Mohawk Nation, Chippewa, and Menominee.
There are several important EPA issues related to the Upper Columbia River. EPA is conducting an investigation of hazardous substance contamination at the Upper Columbia River site in northeast Washington. Throughout the investigation process, EPa has kept the Colville Confederated Tribes, Spokane Tribe, local communities, state of Washington, Canadian federal and provincial governments, and others informed of EPA activities.
There is environmental damage in the upper reaches of the Columbia River, and EPA is concerned about the possible effects of contamination to human health and the environment. EPa has determined that a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) of the Upper Columbia River site is necessary. The RI/FS will evaluate the effects of contamination on human health and the environment, as well as determine if any cleanup action is necessary. Other projects on the Upper Columbia River include EPA's work with the government of Canada to monitor and address temperature, dissolved gas, and other water quality concerns, particularly those related to dam management. This work helps protect human and ecological health, including the health of migrating fish such as salmon and white sturgeon. EPA will continue to keep the Tribes, local communities, governments, and others informed of its activities at the Upper Columbia River site.
Binational cooperation on Puget Sound-Georgia Basin ecosystem protection includes U.S. Tribes, First Nations, federal, provincial, state, and local agencies, and others in the public and private sectors. Regional cooperation to protect this Basin's ecosystem includes addressing expected population growth, contaminants in wildlife, regional management and planning to control air pollution, waste management, water pollution control, and other issues.
Since the mid 1990s, EPA, Department of Interior, Department of State, State of Alaska, Canadian federal and British Columbia agencies, U.S. Tlingit Tribes/Douglas Indian Association, Taku River Tlingit First Nation have been engaged in the review and assessment of proposed mining development in the Alaska-British Columbia Taku River watershed. This bi-national watershed includes hundreds of thousands of migratory salmon and wilderness along the River and its tributaries, as well as a Taku Tlingit traditional trail, all requiring long-term environmental protection. On the U.S. side, the Department of State, EPA, Department of Interior (DOI), State of Alaska, and the Douglas Indian Association (DIA) have partnered and coordinated with Canadian counterparts on Taku River environment and development issues on behalf of U.S. Taku Tlingit Tribes. One Taku River issue of concern is heavy metals flowing from Canada into the U.S.
Since 1997, a number of U.S. Tribes and First Nations together have helped the U.S. and Canada fulfill the Boundary Waters Treaty in the Yukon River watershed through work of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. This Council is an excellent example of how Tribal and First Nation governments can work together to carry out efforts without waiting for other governmental jurisdictions to take the lead. EPa has considered supporting the development of an IJC watershed board approach for the Yukon River.
In response to concerns of the Chippewa Tribes in upper Michigan regarding emissions from the Algoma Steel Mill in Ontario, Canadian and U.S. federal, state, and provincial agencies, along with the Inter Tribal Council in Michigan and Algoma Steel company met in October 2001. During that meeting, officials discussed the emissions that crossed over the U.S.-Canada border and initiated bi-national cooperation to gather air emissions and monitoring data and assessments in response to the Chippewa's concerns about protecting human health. This cooperation helps fulfill the U.S.-Canada Air Quality Agreement's requirements about cross-border notification, consultation, cooperation, assessment, and, as needed, mitigation of air pollution sources of concern along the border.
Requirements, Goals, and Unfinished Agendas Along the U.S.-Mexico Border
The U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program's Border 2012 Mission Statement promotes partnership among federal, state, Tribal, and local governments in the United States and Mexico to protect the environment and public health in the U.S.-Mexico border region, consistent with the principles of sustainable development.
Along the U.S.-Mexico border, EPA shares challenges and goals with Tribes, including:
Studies on ground-level ozone and air particulates in Texas with
the Kicapoo Tribe.
Ground-level ozone, air particulates, and water quantity concerns in the Rio Grande River in Texas with the Isleta Del Sol Tribe.
Water quantity concerns in a bi-national aquifer, drinking water needs, waste management, air quality protection, hazardous materials preparedness, and as needed, response to incidents, in Arizona with the Tohono O'Odham Nation, which spans the U.S.-Mexico border.
Studies on air particulates in Arizona with the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe.
Water quality and quantity concerns in the Colorado River delta, as well as other pollution control concerns in Arizona with the Cocopah, Quechan, and Torres Martinez Tribes.
Along the U.S.-Mexico border, many other U.S. Tribes and indigenous people in Mexico are involved in unfinished agenda efforts to ensure adequate supplies of safe drinking water and waste water treatment and collection services.
As the public and private sectors look back over many decades of environmental challenges and pollution control milestones achieved in U.S. border regions, historical facts indicate that many indigenous people and Tribes have lived in U.S. border regions for centuries during times when border watersheds and border ecosystems once thrived. Today, many no longer do so, and the traditions and wisdom of the Tribes and First Nations can continue to help increase awareness, educate, and lead North America toward sustainable development.
It will be very helpful if readers of this article recommend specific topics about Tribal issues in U.S. border regions that could be reported in futures issues of this EPA newsletter, as well as those that could be discussed in special meetings and teleconferences. If you have recommendations or questions regarding U.S. border issues, please contact Pete Christich, EPA, at 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue (MC2650R), Washington, DC 20460, 202-564-6404, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Look at OSWER's Tribal Waste Journal
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
May 2002 marked the first publication of EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) Tribal Waste Journal (TWJ). The annual release of the news journal features a different topic and presents related ideas, approaches, and activities successfully employed by Tribes and villages. Each edition showcases "The Tribal Voice," an activity-packed "Kids Page," and a section of topic-related "Resources" and "Contacts." Since premiering its May 2002 publication, OSWER has focused on (1) preventing illegal dumping and (2) transfer stations. Some highlights of related stories are featured below. If readers have questions regarding OSWER's TWJ, please contact Janice Johnson, EPA, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (5306W), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC, 20460, email@example.com, or visit www.epa.gov/Tribalmsw.
Tribal Waste Journal, May 2002
The May 2002 edition focused on illegal dumping within Indian country. News and informational articles summarized cleanup initiatives and prevention programs related to this topic. Several reservations shared success stories of alternative waste disposal programs, partnering for success, and multi-faceted clean up programs. TWJ also highlighted the San Carlos Apache reservation for their work in collecting unwanted and abandoned cars and white goods and selling the scraps to a local scrap metal vendor. The edition also targeted articles on community outreach and involvement, enforcement programs, and program assessment strategies, all related to the prevention of illegal waste dumping.
In May 2002, OSWER also published an interview with a Tribal Voice, Judy Pratt-Shelly, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and her mother Grace Deragon. Pratt-Shelly is the Treaty and Natural Resources Division chief and Executive Environmental Programs Director for the Tribe. Deragon is a Tribal elder. Pratt-Shelly and her mother shared their experience with the environmental concerns regarding household waste and illegal dumping within their community.
Tribal Waste Journal, May 2003
The May 2003 edition focused on transfer stations. This edition showcased a step-by-step guide for creating a waste transfer station, including developing a solid waste management plan, conducting a waste assessment, conducting site visits, performing a feasibility study, and operation and maintenance. TWJ's May 2003 edition also targeted articles on community involvement, the need for Tribal councils, and funding opportunities. The edition also highlighted seven operating Tribal waste transfer stations. Again, OSWER published an interview with a Tribal Voice, Kim Clausen-Jenson, Oglala Sioux Environmental Protection Program Director. Clasuen-Jenson promoted her reservation's landfil and funding through partnerships with government agencies to support their station's project.
Brownfields 2003, Growing a Greener America
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Office of Brownfields Cleanup and Revitalization
The Brownfields 2003 Conference, Growing a Greener America, took place on October 27-29, 2003 in Portland, Oregon. At the Oregon Convention Center, over 4,100 experts, practitioners, and other stakeholders participated in a three-day conference program, which included educational sessions, mobile workshops, general sessions, a town meeting plenary, exhibits, and receptions. Mobile workshops offered a unique venue for examining successful brownfields projects in and nearby Portland. At the town meeting plenary, participants were encouraged to ask experts questions related to brownfields projects. The Phoenix Awards Ceremony was also part of the agenda, where winning project participants were honored and recognized for excellence in brownfields redevelopment. The conference brought together key experts from all levels of government, business, finance, and local communities to share ideas and experiences in the fields of urban and environmental redevelopment.
A Native American Gathering took place the day before the conference where Tribal representatives had the opportunity to meet with EPA officials to specifically discuss brownfileds-related issues of Tribal interest.
More details on this conference and its resulting success can be obtained from www.brownfields2003.org, and will be featured in the next OPPTS Tribal News issue, due Spring 2004. Brownfields 2004 Conference is scheduled to take place in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 20-22, 2004.
NTEC and EPA Announce Winners of the OPPTS Tribal News "A Design the Kid's Page Contest"
On October 31, 2003, the National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC) and EPA collected the final entries from children in grades K-12 for the OPPTS Tribal News "A Design the Kid's Page Contest." The contest began in Spring 2003 and was extended until October because of the great number of interested participants. Over 80 students participated in the contest. These intelligent students displayed creativity and thoughtfulness as they depicted environmental awareness of their indigenous communities in the form of an activity or drawing for the Kid's Page, which is featured regularly in OPPTS Tribal News.
Kid's Page designs of the top three winners are featured on the following pages. The Grand Prize Winner, Michael Wassily, is a 7th grader at Clarks Point School, Clarks Point, Alaska. Michael's Kid's Page design, "Puzzle Code," features a coded message and the subsistence life of the Alaskan community. Congratulations Michael on your award and prizes. What a wonderful, detailed design!
Ameraiah Joe, a 3rd grader in the Kayenta Unified School District, Kayenta, Arizona, received the First-Place Winner award and prize. Ameraiah's Kid's Page design, "I Live In A Good Home," displays incredible detail of the culture and lifeways in the Dine' community. Isiah Wauneka, a 7th grader at Tse Ho Tso Intermediate, Window Rock, Arizona, submitted his vision of pollution from glass and metal and the benefits of recycling, titled "Keep the Rez Clean." Isiah received the Second-Place Winner award and prize. All entries were judged by Karen Ware, NTEC Office Manager, and Jim Rivera, Institute of American Indian Arts Professor.
"Puzzle Code," Michael Wassily, Grand Prize Winner
"I Live In A Good Home," Ameraiah Joe, First-Place Prize Winner
Keep the Rez Clean," Isiah Wauneka, Second-Place Prize Winner
Tribal Success in OSWER Waste Programs
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Adapted from the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Environmental Justice Success Stories Report (FY 1999-2001)
In September 2002, EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) published the Environmental Justice Success Stories Report (FY 1999-2001). This report summarized some of OSWER's efforts to incorporate environmental justice into its programs, including Brownfields Training and Revitalization; Superfund; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); Environmental Justice Awareness Training; and Community Involvement, Outreach, and Planning programs. The following paragraphs summarize some of the successes that Tribes have had in these programs.
In Region 8, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota initiated the San Haven Redevelopment Brownfields Project. Under the San Haven Redevelopment Project, the Tribe purchased the former State Mental Rehabilitation Hospital, located near the Reservation, in 1992. The State conducted initial remediation activities at the site, including the removal of asbestos contamination, underground storage tanks, and contaminated soil and water. In 1998, the Tribe evaluated the extent of contamination remaining at the site, under a Brownfields Site Assessment grant from EPA. During this same period, Turtle Mountain Community College received a Brownfields Job Training grant, the first to be awarded from EPA to a Tribe.
A contaminant survey was conducted at the site by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which decided not to bring the property into the Tribal Trust until contamination issues at the site have been resolved. The project also became part of the ten-year strategic plan for Roulette County, a U.S. Department of Agriculture "Champion Community" and a U.S. Department of Commerce Underutilized Business Zone. Multiple options have been discussed for future uses of the site, including refurbishing building for use as Tribal youth rehabilitation centers, student training for salvage and resale operations, and the development of tours of teepee rings, a burial site, and the foundations of an old Scandinavian settlement village discovered at the site. The Tribal Brownfields Project Manager is currently researching and applying for additional sources of funding, including grants for cleanup and redevelopment activities from the Economic Development Administrations, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Native Americans.
Benefits of the San Haven Redevelopment Project include: reestablishing 600 acres; creating new and sustainable jobs for Tribal residents; addressing health and safety concerns related to contamination, vandalism, and structural issues at the site; providing an opportunity for the Tribe to share its cultural history and values with a much larger population; and establishing or improving partnerships with a number of local, regional, and federal agencies and organizations.
In addition to the Brownfields project described above, Tribal groups have conducted activities under Superfund, including the following:
Eastern Surplus Company Superfund Site: Cleanup and Cultural
Resource Protection (Region 1) - A major aspect in the cleanup of
this site was the mitigation of impacts to cultural resources of the
Passamaquoddy Indian Tribe more than 9,000 years old. EPa hired professional
archaeologists to excavate a portion of the site and documents the cultural
resources, funded a study of the artifacts by the Passamaquoddy Tribe,
provided internships to Tribal members to participate in the Project,
and agreed to develop outreach exhibits about the cleanup and cultural
resources discovered at the site.
Superfund Cleanups Conducted in Massena, New York, with Tribal Assistance (Region 2) - The Reynolds Metal Company and General Motors Superfund sites are located directly upstream from St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Lands. Representatives of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe's Environment Division were actively involved with the cleanup at both sites. Through a Support Agency Assistance Grant, the Tribe monitored the PRP's performance during each cleanup, joined with EPA inspectors on an inspection of dredging operations, using the Tribe's research and enforcement boat, performed a sampling and analysis program, and conducted community outreach.
All-Indian Pueblo Council's Pueblo Office of Environmental Protection Dip Vat Bioremediation Pilot Project (Region 6) - EPA Region 6 has undertaken an initiative to enhance the role of states and Tribes in Superfund activities. As part of this initiative, EPA trained members of the Zuni Environmental Protection Office and the Acoma Environmental Office to bioremediate pesticide-contaminated sheep dipping vats. Those members can now use their training to bioremediate other contaminated sheep dipping vats on Pueblo land.
Dynamite Removal Near the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe's Village in Sisseton, South Dakota (Region 8) - This site consists of 146 cases of dynamite and 40 cases of blasting caps buried in a field near the town of Agency Village, home to approximately 500 members of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe. In 1999, EPA's Emergency Response Program directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the site. The Bureau of Indian Affairs interviewed witnesses, and brought in the U.S. Air Force Explosives Detection K-9 Unit, eventually finding three burial areas at the site. The disposal method selected for the site was in-place detonation. For safety reasons, it was decided that the entire town would be evacuated prior to detonation occurring. The Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe was an active participant in meeting the challenges of temporarily housing 500 Tribal members.
Navajo Abandoned Uranium Mine Project, Water Data Outreach Effort (Region 9) - In 2001, Tribal and federal representatives met with 30 different Navajo chapters to provide information on the more than 1,150 abandoned uranium mine sites found on the Navajo Nation and their potential impact on water quality. This outreach effort involved relaying information regarding a sampling program for non-regulated water sources to determine if they were detected by mining activities, and was conducted in both Navajo and English. The team presented information about how to reduce exposure to contaminated water and the abandoned uranium mine sites, including physical hazards and miner compensation claims.
EPA OSWER environmental justice activities also include projects conducted under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program. In Region 2, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe used RCRA grant money to provide training for the Indian Nations of the Region in the initiation and improvement of solid waste management activities. Specialized workshops were developed as the result of a poll of the region's Indian Nations. Workshops were presented by national Tribal experts in the areas of composting, management and prevention of tire piles and open dumps, waste transfer stations, regulation writing, and program development and resources.
In Region 10, EPa has issued grants of up to $220,000 over the last five years to the Alaska Native Health Board. These grants are used to clean up open dumps containing shipping materials, lubricants, and paints and solvents from abandoned radar installations and small airports used during the cold war by the U.S. Department of Defense. The ANHB in turn provides smaller grants to the individual Alaska Tribal communities, to directly involve the communities in education, design, planning, and training to clean up the problem.
Also in Region 10, EPA and the Pt. Gamble S'Klallam Tribe conducted and participated in an arsenic metabolism study. The study was conducted as the result of contamination from the closed Kitsap County Landfill. In 1989, Tribal biologists discovered elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and vinyl chloride in an aquifer on the reservation, and discovered vinyl chloride in wetland on the reservation and in a fish-bearing stream near the reservation. Over a period of approximately ten years, investigations were conducted at the site by the Tribe, with assistance from EPA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Washington State Department of Ecology, with assistance from Parametrix, Inc. and Kitsap County. The metabolism study is being conducted as part of the investigation into risks at the site.
For more information on Brownfields programs, as well as RCRA, Superfund, Environmental Justice or Community Outreach, readers may visit www.epa.gov/oswer. Readers may also find contact information for the programs/success stories highlighted in this article by ordering copies of OSWER's Environmental Justice Success Stories Report (FY 1999-2001). Request copies by contacting Kent Benjamin, 202-566-0185, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tribes and the Brownfields Law
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response,
Office of Brownfields Cleanup and Revitalization
In January 2002, President George W. Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (SBLRBRA). The law expanded the Brownfields activities EPA can support and increased funding for grants and other programs. Specifically, the Act provides increased funding for assessments and cleanups, as well as enhances the roles of State and Tribal programs in brownfields management. The Act also provided targeted liability amendments to the Comprehensive Environmental Reclamation Compensation Liability Act (CERCLA). Application guidelines for these programs can be found at www.epa.gov/brownfields. The deadline for proposal submittals for fiscal year 2004 assessments, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants was December 4, 2003. The deadline for proposal submittals for fiscal year 2004 job training grants was December 1, 2003. Note that the next cycle for requests of grant proposals is expected to be in the first quarter of fiscal year 2005.
Examples of How Tribes Can Benefit From The Brownfields Law:
Expanded definition of a Brownfields site may more closely describe
the types of sites of concern in Indian country
Potential to address hazardous substances and pollutants, including biohazards, may allow Tribes to address common problems, such as decaying school buildings with potential reuse
Ability to address assessment and cleanup of contamination from petroleum products
Ability to address assessment and clean up of mine-scarred lands
Opportunity to establish and enhance Tribal response programs
Opportunity for Tribes to create inventories of Brownfields sites
New, more flexible authorities for funding Brownfields training, technical assistance, and research
Summary of The Brownfields Law:
Brownfields Revitalization Funding (SBLRBRA - Subtile A)
Provides legislative authority for a Brownfields Program, including grants for
assessment programs up to $350,000 per site
cleanup programs up to $350,000 per site (nonprofit organizations are eligible for direct cleanup grants)
Makes funds available for technical assistance, training, and research in amounts that do not exceed 15% of the funding appropriated for subtitle A.*
State And Tribal Response Program (SBLRBRA - Subtitle C)
Provides more certainty of liability relief when certain properties are cleaned up under State response programs
Supports strong State and Tribal response programs and preserves Federal safety net
Authorizes $50 million per year in funding to establish and enhance States and Tribal response programs
Expands activities eligible for funding of State and Tribal programs
*Note that Alaskan Tribes, with the exception of the Metlakala are not eligible for Subtitle A funding.
For more information on the Brownfields Program, visit www.epa.gov/brownfields/ or call an EPA Brownfields Contact at 202-566-2777.
A New Gateway to Science from EPA and American Indians
Office of Research and Development
Have you ever wondered what scientific information and tools are available to address environmental issues in Indian Country? Are you interested in knowing more about scientific projects being carried out by Tribes and EPA in your area? Would you like to learn more about traditional ecological knowledge? Do you have information on scientific activities related to Indian Country that you would like to share with others?
EPA worked with Tribal representatives to create a resource to help answer these questions, the "Science and American Indians" web site at www.epa.gov/osp/tribes.htm. The web site is a gateway to scientific information from both Tribes and EPA, including:
Announcements for funding opportunities, events, and news articles;
Scientific resources including observational and analytical data, agency hotlines, environmental projects across the country, technical and compliance assistance centers, major scientific initiatives, EPA laboratories, and training
Information and Products relating to National EPA-Tribal Science Council activities.
The site is intended to be used by a wide range of individuals, from those who have little scientific experience to those who are very knowledgeable and trained. In addition to providing scientific information from EPA and other Federal agencies, the "Science and American Indians" web site is designed to enhance the sharing of scientific knowledge and experiences from Tribes across Indian Country.
The "Science and American Indians" web site was created through an iterative process using multiple focus groups and one-on-one feedback sessions with Tribal representatives who contributed greatly to the design, content, and text. Key to the overall development of the site were Veronica O'Leary of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Barbara Gray of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force. Ms. O'Leary was primarily responsible for developing the graphical design of the web site and, importantly, arranging and conducting usability tests with various Tribal representatives and groups, including tribal members at EPA, Washington Internships for Native Students from across the country and Tribal representatives from the Navajo Nation, Cherokee Nation, and Tribal Association on Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Ms. Gray provided invaluable guidance on Tribes and traditional knowledge. She also reviewed draft components of the web site and offered input into the language used. In addition, she organized a test of the initial draft web site by Tribal elders, community members, and environmental professionals associated with Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force, which provided critical feedback during site development.
Soliciting a wide range of input was important in the development process since the "Science and American Indians" web site strives to provide scientific information from different perspectives thereby highlighting the various processes by which we explain the world around us - representing our "Ways of Knowing." The site aims to demonstrate that analytically-based science, which relies on collecting information through a path of linear, standardized steps, is one approach people use to explain the world. Tribal traditional knowledge, which encompasses a range of ways that people living indigenous lifestyles perceive, think, act, and "come to know" their world, is another approach to solve environmental problems. Furthermore, scientists of all disciplines have begun to recognize the importance of integrating the information from the various scientific approaches. The "Science and American Indians" web site attempts to provide science information from these various approaches when addressing environmental concerns.
The "Science and American Indians" web site will be a component of the "Tribal Portal," which is still under development. The "Tribal Portal" will provide a single point of entry for Tribes to access environmental regulatory, policy and programmatic information and assistance. The "Science and American Indians" site will serve as the link to environmental science-related information. Until the "Tribal Portal" is operational, the AIEO web site (can be used to access information on EPA environmental policy, regulations, and general funding opportunities.
The current version of the "Science and American Indians" web site is intended to be a starting point. Content will be added to the site on an ongoing basis, and efforts will be made to gather additional information from other agencies and Tribes. Future iterations of the site will broaden both the educational aspect of the site and the depth with which particular topics are covered so that all users will find the site beneficial. You are encouraged to take a look at the "Science and American Indians"web site at and make suggestions for improvement or additions to Claudia Walters, Office of Research and Development, at or call 202-564-6762.
EPA Science Forum, May 2003
Office of Research and Development
EPA's Office of Research held its annual Science Forum in Washington, DC May 5-8, 2003. The Science Forum featured a host of speakers, exhibits, panel discussions, and events. Several speakers from Tribal governments and organizations also participated, and summaries of their sessions are highlighted below.
EMAP Tribal Perspectives
The Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) is an ongoing EPA project that supplies scientists and researchers with tools to better estimate regional, environmental indicators in order to assess environmental conditions.
Mr. Davis, Nez Perce Tribe scientist, described the goals of the Nez Perce Tribe and the role of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program EMAP in their local science objectives. Nez Perce is one of the first Tribes to adopt an EMAP approach with their own funds.
Nez Perce is located in north central Idaho and includes approximately 750,000 acres. The Tribe is split into four counties, including Clearwater, Nez Perce, Lewis, and Idaho. Approximately 30 percent of the reservation is Tribally-owned. The remainder of the reservation has been sold to industrial companies or other businesses. The Tribal reservation has diverse landscapes, and therefore, requires diverse approaches when managing their environment. Most of the reservation's land is used for cultural activities, agriculture, recreation, timber management, and live stock management.
Nez Perce gained interest in the EMAP project when Mr. Davis attended an EMAP training in June 2001. Mr. Davis encouraged the Tribe to fund its own EMAP program, and in 2002, Davis and other scientists started a training review of EMAP field sampling protocols. In 2003, the Tribe initiated it's sampling for EMAP data and will complete a final report of its findings and results in 2005.
The Nez Perce Tribe will use EMAP bioassessment applications to develop water quality standards and criteria, complete a 303d list of impaired areas based on the state of their aquatic community, and create total maximum daily loadings, among other project goals. EMAP will play a major role in assessing the current condition of streams within the reservation.
Tribal Partnerships in Pesticide Management to Protect Human Health
Ms. Ryan, Big Valley Rancheria, explained the traditions of the Big Valley Rancheria reservation and goals to improve their environment. The environmental goals of the Big Valley Rancheria are to gather information on possible health hazards and provide outreach to the community. In order to meet traditional and environmental goals, Big Valley Rancheria uses income from its Tribal-owned casino and also relies on grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, EPA, and U.S. Department of Interior.
Pesticide management and community recycling are priority goals. Hunting and gathering from the lands of Big Valley Rancheria is a long noted tradition of the community. Big Valley is a descendent of the Xa-ben-na-po Band of Indians, and Xa-ben-na-po is defined as hunters and gatherers. The Tribal members occupy 375 acres and are committed to protecting its lands. However, pesticides use in Lake County has resulted in diverse environmental and human health effects within their community.
Pesticides are used to protect pear, walnut, and apple trees, and wine grapes. There are residents that live as close as 60 ft-100ft to pear and wine grape orchards, respectively. Tribal schools are less than 40 feet from pear orchards, and residents along Soda Bay Road are less than 50 feet from pear orchards. Elders also have documented pesticides use outside of their homes. These repeated exposures have resulted in asthma in five family members.
In 2001, Big Valley Rancheria completed a pesticides history investigation and report. In the report, Big Valley Rancheria focused on pesticides 2,4-D, paraquat, azinphos-methyl, chlorpyrifos, methyl bromide, and petroleum oils. Big Valley Rancheria also has investigated 2002 data on exposure drifts of pesticides, including chlorpyrifos (lorsban).
It is vital that Big Valley Rancheria address pesticides use and pesticides drift in the areas lying between Lake County and the reservation. Tribal members use plants as foods and medicines, baskets built with plants, plant products used for cooking utensils and ingredients, and even baby rattles. These uses of plants result in exposure to pesticides. Other Tribal environmental issues that remain include native plants, repatriation of items, fish warnings, mercury, and pesticide found in Clear Lake.
Establishing Self-Sufficiency in Alaska Native Communities to Minimize Exposure to Environmental Contaminants
Ms. June Gologergen-Martin, St. Lawrence Island, along with Tribal member Viola Waghiyi, explained the goals of the St. Lawrence Tribe and support from the Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) program. There exist 229 Tribes in Alaska, and St. Lawrence is a Tribal-owned island. St. Lawrence has worked to address issues of limited funding, information gathering of nature and extent data on island contaminants, the exclusion of their local input into decision-making efforts of surrounding areas, and contaminants resulting from U.S. military sites. The island also recognizes trends in local and traditional knowledge and wisdom not being adequately integrated into younger generations. In order to address some of these challenges, members of the St. Lawrence island community work with ACAT. The initial support from ACAT resulted from a meeting with the former Annie Alowa with ACAT and the receipt of a grant to help the St. Lawrence community address the health issues prevalent on the island.
With help from ACAT, St. Lawrence partners with the communities of Gambell and Savoonga, Norton Sound Health Corporation, and State University of New York to achieve several environmental goals, including the following:
Acquire more information about environmental health clinics
Education and involvement of young people
Develop Tribal abilities to interpret data
Arrange for advance planning and create information management protocols.
Develop strategies to increase funding allocated to the U.S. Department of Defense for clean-up statewide and nationally
Develop strategic partnerships for policy advocacy needs
Increase elder input.
On a project-basis, St. Lawrence is working with other organizations to identify sources of contamination affecting the communities of Saint Lawrence Island, including the military sites and distant sources; determine health problems that may be linked to environmental contamination; and develop clean up protocols for contaminated sites. The Tribe also hopes to create a training program about prevention and treatment of environmental health problems and develop a model of communication that might be helpful for other Alaska Native communities in addressing environmental contamination.
To date, the Tribe established an advisory committee with representation from the Tribal government, city council, and village corporation of the Savoonga and Gambell communities; held leadership and community meetings in Gambell and Savoonga; completed portions of a pilot study to determine environmental exposures to contaminants, as well as other environmental studies; and held planning meetings with community leaders.
Bioaccumulative Toxics in Native American Shellfish
Mr. Campbell and Ms. Jamie Donatuto of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community discussed their current project of studying bioaccumulative toxics in subsistence-harvested shellfish on the Swinomish reservation. Their current project is supported by EPA ORD grant. The Swinomish reservation is located 75 miles north of Seattle, Washington, and has 750 Tribal members currently living on the reservation. Their reservation covers approximately 7,400 acres, and 2,900 acres are Tribal-owned. Their reservation is unique in that 90 percent of their land is surrounded by water. Therefore, shellfish are vital to their community and is a subsistence food of the Swinomish Tribe. Shellfish are incorporated into the common diet and sold to produce funding for the Tribal families. The community has environmental and human health concerns because heavy metals, PCBs, lead, mercury, and dioxins and furans are common contaminants found in the nearby waters and in the shellfish.
In order to address these concerns, the Swinomish Tribe uses their grant
funding to achieve the following goals:
Determine whether Swinomish people who eat shellfish harvested from
the reservation or other nearby areas are exposed to bioaccumulative
toxics by testing sediment, clams, and crabs
Effectively communicate those risks in a culturally appropriate manner
Develop mitigation measures
Confirm major health problems on the reservation that may be related to eating contaminated shellfish
Develop hypotheses between the health problems and toxics found.
Testing of the shellfish, as well as land involves sample collections of sediment and clams and crabs (shellfish) and developing additional protocols to prevent further contamination. The reservation scientist will collect data to determine concentrations and other information on heavy metals, such as arsenic, copper, cadmium, selenium, mercury, lead, and nickel; PCBs; PAHs; dioxins/-furans; chlorinated pesticides; and butyltins. Sample sites were chosen based on historic and present frequencies of subsistence food gathering.
The reservation also is completing their Tox in a Box ambassador's guide that will educate school age children on toxics in the community and common health effects determined from their studies. Tribal members also participate in community gatherings where reservation scientist disseminates environmental and human health information. Finally, the Tribe provides public service announcements on the Swinomish cable channel to communicate findings and risks.
Fall 2004 EPA Minority Academic Institutions Undergraduate and Graduate Fellowships
Office of Research and Development
EPA offers Minority Academic Institutions Undergraduate Fellowships for bachelor level students in environmentally-related fields of study. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 15 new fellowships by July 23, 2004. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer between their junior and senior years. The fellowship provides up to $17,000 per year of academic support and up to $7,500 of internship support for a three-month summer period.
EPA also offers Minority Academic Institutions Graduate Fellowships for master and doctoral level students in environmentally related fields of study. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 20 new fellowships by July 23, 2004. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, with funding available, under certain circumstances, over a period of four years. The fellowship program provides up to $37,000 per year of support.
EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship Program for Graduate Environmental Study
EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, offers Graduate Fellowships for master's and doctoral level students in environmentally related fields of study. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 50 new fellowships by July 23, 2004. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, with funding available, under certain circumstances, over a period of four years. The fellowship program provides up to $37,000 per year of support.
Integrated Monitoring and Assessment for Effective Water Quality Management Symposium
Office of Research and Development
EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program's (EMAP's) 2004 Symposium, titled "Integrated Monitoring and Assessment for Effective Water Quality Management" will be held in Newport, Rhode Island during May 3 - 7, 2004. EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD), the Council of State Governments (CSG), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) jointly sponsor the symposium. During the symposium, experts will describe how advances in monitoring and assessment are targeted to meet emerging state and Tribal needs and illustrate examples of research and technology transfer that have led to more efficient, less expensive, and more scientifically rigorous monitoring and assessment programs.
Tribes are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts that relate directly or indirectly to one of the following symposium themes:
Monitoring of Aquatic Resources
Methods to Integrate Monitoring and Assessment for Clean Water Act Reporting
Monitoring to Establish Aquatic Life Uses, Develop Criteria, and Evaluate Use Attainment.
Please note that the deadline for ABSTRACTS submission is January 30, 2004. The ABSTRACTS will then be reviewed for possible inclusion as a platform or poster presentation during the symposium.
Complete instructions for ABSTRACTS submissions, along with registration information for the symposium and hotels, are posted on the symposium web site at www.csg.org. Once entering the web site, readers must enter the keyword "EMAP." Further information on the EMAP 2004 Symposium can be obtained from Brian D. Melzian, Ph.D., EPA (NHEERL), 401-782-3188, email@example.com or Amanda Mays, The Council of State Governments, 859-244-8236, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statistics in EPA's STAR Program, Learning Materials for Surface Water Monitoring
Dr. N. Scott Urquhart, Colorado State University
Dr. Jim Moore, Office of Research and Development
Data occupies a central role in many of the actions taken by EPA and its affiliates in the Tribes and States. For data to provide suitable information for these actions, it needs to be appropriate for the situation. The scientific discipline of statistics focuses on gathering and analyzing data so that relevant questions may be answered in an unbiased way, including environmental questions. This article describes the development of some individualized materials designed to help water quality personnel in the Tribes and States to learn how to apply statistical sampling and analysis to their monitoring work.
EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) has conducted monitoring research through it's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) since 1989. In recent years, EMAP has focused on developing methods and approaches for aquatic resources. Statistics plays a substantial role in these methods especially for site selection and analysis. These new approaches are supported by the EPA's Office of Water. They are also being used by some States in meeting the reporting requirements of section 403(b) of the Clean Water Act. Several Tribes have begun using these methods to evaluate the status and trends in their aquatic resources, and at least one of EPA's regional offices is strongly encouraging Tribes in that Region to use these methods.
ORD sponsors extramural research under the auspices of the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program in the National Center for Environmental Research. The statistical research conducted for the STAR program focuses on developing innovative methods that are important for protecting human health and the environment.
In 2000, STAR issued a Request for Applications (RFA) to develop two research programs on Statistical Survey Design and Analysis for Aquatic Resources. The RFA included the specific wording "Proposals should specifically address the extension of expertise on design and analysis to States and Tribes. Such a component should consider the level of statistical training that may be extant in State and Tribal environmental management and resource agencies. Research on and demonstration of distance learning concepts that allow individuals with basic statistics training to study and understand the concepts of design and analysis statistics are encouraged." The successful applicants, Colorado State University (CSU) and Oregon State University (OSU), submitted coordinated proposals that included a specific plan for responding to this requirement. The CSU program is called "Space-Time Aquatic Resources Modeling and Analysis Program" (STARMAP); the OSU program is called Designs and Models for Aquatic Resource Surveys"(DAMARS).
As part of these two research programs, learning materials are being developed to help educate people on how to use statistics in collecting and analyzing water quality data. This research on outreach investigates two concepts in knowledge transfer: method of delivery or presentation, and relevance of content. Usable learning materials must address both of these concepts. The requirement for distance learning in the RFA is satisfied by developing individualized materials usable at a remote site. Currently, most learners are familiar with web browsers and the Internet but Internet use has some substantial limitations for learning. STARMAP and DAMARS proposed, among other things, to develop, test and distribute learning materials on a CD ROM(s) that are based on web-browser technology and incorporate several types of actions that may be individually selected which are termed as individualizations. The approach does not use the Internet for several reasons:
Learners can become very frustrated by download delays due to Internet
traffic and/or slow connections to the Internet;
Parts of the anticipated materials could be useful in remote field sites, especially for training, which precludes their availability on the Internet for the foreseeable future;
Internet accessible materials need to be composed to accommodate all versions of major browsers, including legacy ones of much more limited capabilities than current ones;
Some of the anticipated individualizations may be executed more simply and accurately in a controlled software environment than in a general one.
Using the Director's experience, discussions with staff in the regions who conduct monitoring, and a limited study of Tribal needs, researchers for STARMAP and DAMARS began to investigate possible content for these learning materials by relying on the Directors' experience in working with resource managers in the target organizations, with discussions and communications with EPA regional personnel that have monitoring responsibilities, and by conducting a limited study of Tribal needs by using Water Quality Technology, Inc. (WQYI). Steven Johnson of WQTI, works closely with about 15 western Tribes, mainly in EPA Region 9, on water quality issues, and prepared a personal interview form in collaboration with the Director of STARMAP. Because a high response rate was not expected for an impersonal mail form, Steven filled out the form during in conversations with Tribal water-quality personnel as a part of his regular visits. His report included these recommendations:
Tribes need regulatory guidance to develop water quality monitoring
plans in the form required for Section 305(b) reporting which is currently
required for states only.
Tribes voiced the need to have the monitoring and protection of cultural uses of waters addressed in instructional materials.
Tribes voiced the need for temporal trend and water-quality database management software that is user friendly.
Tribes voiced the need for geographical information system (GIS) training.
Tribes voiced the need for educational materials on the appropriate use of statistics in aquatic water-quality monitoring assessments.
Tribes voiced the need for a user-friendly statistical analysis program.
A copy of the WQTI report is available at:
A first draft of the learning environment has been developed in collaboration with CSU's Office of Instructional Services. This environment implements several forms of individualization, but it is incomplete at this time. However, this first test version has been designed to eventually support individualization for diversity in perspective - from the monitoring administrator, to field personnel and data analysts, geographic context of the learner - (many ecoregions), a dictionary detail, and even, if needed, different languages. If research with the intended user community reveals other needed features, flexibility for their incorporation will be included in the environment, and perhaps implemented in the test materials. The presentation environment identifies and presents information for learners based on choices they make. The environment also will assemble pdf files suitable for printing.
Two of six eventual learning units have been drafted by Gerald Scarzella, a graduate student in statistics at CSU and a Native Alaskan. A preliminary evaluation of both the learning environment and early materials was conducted and several state environmental agencies, a sub-state regional agency and two EPA regional offices attended. Several people from Tribal agencies were invited, but weren't able to attend. All of the evaluators were extremely supportive of the interactive environment and the draft content. They wrote pages of suggestions which are being studied for future changes in the learning environment. They volunteered potentially valuable material from their experience and identified an important new audience - river councils. The original plan for these new learning materials included a few case studies but the recent evaluation makes it clear that there should be perhaps 30case studies to illustrate a range of design and analysis topics.
As these new learning materials evolve, future evaluations will be conducted. Tribal input is critical if the materials are to be useful to Tribal water quality personnel and managers. We will seek Tribal volunteers to participate in future evaluations. Contact the STARMAP Director, Dr. N. Scott Urquhart at email@example.com if you have suggestions for content or delivery methods. For more general comments, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The research described in this article has been funded in part by cooperative agreements between the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Statistics at Colorado State University (CR-829095) and the Department of Statistics at Oregon State University (CR- 829096), under the auspice of ORD's STAR Program. Further information about this research is available on the web at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/statistics/epa_program/index.html.
Readers may also contact N. Scott Urquhart, PhD, Director STARMAP, Department of Statistics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523 or Jim Moore, PhD, Project Officer, U.S. EPA National Center for Environmental Research, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (MC8723R), Washington, DC 20460.
Makah and Shoalwater Bay Tribes Experience in EPA's National Coastal Assessment Training
David Lawes, Makah Tribe; Vince Cook, Shoalwater Bay Tribe; and Jim Harvey, Office of Research and Development
The Makah and Shoalwater Bay Tribes from the Pacific Northwest oversee and manage their natural resources like forestry and fisheries. Three Tribal environmental professionals from the Makah fisheries group and one from the Shoalwater Bay Tribe participated in EPA's National Coastal Assessment (NCA) training. After three intensive days of lecture and "hands-on" field training at EPA's Gulf Ecology Division, each participant received a certificate of completion of training and returned to their respective Tribe with the knowledge and ability to collect samples. The NCA Program employs a probabilistic design and a common, core set of survey indicators, refined after years of use and validation in EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). These Tribal environmental professionals will also share their knowledge and experience with neighboring Tribes. Our three-year goal is to provide training for a geographically-distributed, critical mass of tribal environmental professionals who will, in turn, train all coastal Tribes.
David Lawes, Water Quality/Resource Specialist, from the Makah Tribe said "We've wanted to develop a probability-based monitoring program and this is a big step in that direction. We're happy to have been able to participate." Contact: David Lawes or Vince Cooke at 360-645-3151 email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.
National EPA Tribal Science Council
Office of Research and Development
EPA Tribal Science Council
Chris Gannon, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Oregon
Dennis O'Connor, Office of Air and Radiation
First convened in December 2001, the National EPA-Tribal Science Council, commonly referred to as the Tribal Science Council or TSC, provides a forum for Tribal and EPA representatives to identify priority Tribal environmental science issues and collaboratively design effective solutions. Funded through EPA's Office of Research and Development, the TSC developed out of concerns over the appropriateness of EPA's science activities in a Tribal context, specifically, the appropriateness of science information gathered from Tribes, the validity of data collected about and through traditional methods, and the ability of EPA programs to incorporate the unique aspects of Tribal cultures into models and assessment tools.
Comprised of Tribal and EPA Regional and Headquarters representatives, the 28-member TSC includes a single Tribal representative from each of the nine EPA Regions with federally recognized Tribes as well as an additional Region 10 Tribal representative representing Alaska Native communities. The TSC also includes an EPA representative from each Program Office and one from each of the nine EPA Regions with federally recognized Tribes. Agency representatives are designated by Assistant Administrators from the respective EPA Program Offices and Regions. Tribal representatives are nominated by their Regional Tribal Operations Committees through the National Tribal Operations Committee.
The TSC represents a new paradigm for how EPA works with Tribal governments. The agenda of the TSC is driven by Tribal priority science issues. However, unlike other EPA Tribal groups that are advisory in nature, the TSC employs a collaborative approach, where Tribal and EPA representatives work together to determine the most appropriate mechanisms to address the science issues identified.
Currently, the TSC is focusing its efforts on Tribally relevant risk assessment and development of a health and well-being paradigm. EPA's current risk assessment methodology could be improved to take into account Tribal culture, values, and lifeways. The TSC is working to both examine ways to include specific Tribal cultural and lifeways concerns and practices into existing risk assessment model mechanics as well as to develop a paradigm that shifts the focus of risk assessment to community health and well-being. In support of this effort, the TSC has sponsored two workshops on risk assessment and Tribal health and well-being. The first, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in February 2003, brought EPA staff and Tribal representatives together to gain a better understanding of the issue and better insights into the ways in which EPA and Tribes view the current risk assessment process. The second workshop was hosted by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Reno Nevada in May 2003 and provided an opportunity for Tribal representatives to share stories about health and well-being topics and the use of traditional knowledge and science. A third TSC workshop to continue discussion of Tribally relevant risk assessment is planned for early in 2004.
In addition to these current activities, the TSC has focused its efforts on a number of additional priority science initiatives, which have included:
Promoting technical assistance for Quality Assurance Project Plan
(QAPP) development and implementation for Tribes through review of EPA's
QAPP development training course; co-sponsorship, with EPA, of a course
on QAPP development at the 2002 National Tribal Conference on Environmental
Management; and coordination with EPA Region 9 to review and lend support
to a QAPP development training CD for Tribes,
Sponsoring the workshop on the current state-of-the-science of endocrine disruptor research in Washington, DC in September 2002 to provide Tribes information about EPA science and policy development regarding endocrine disruptor research and to provide a forum for Tribal representatives to discuss their concerns about endocrine disruptors resulting from a subsistence lifestyle,
Sponsoring presentations, posters and booths on a range of science topics at the National Tribal Conference on Environmental Management in 2002 and the EPA Science Forum in 2002 and 2003,
Compiling a list of Regional projects across the country brief descriptions of projects where Tribes and EPA are working to enhance or restore Tribal traditional lifeways,
Examining EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs' Lifeline risk assessment project to ensure relevancy to Tribes.
The TSC will continue support of these science efforts. In addition, the TSC has identified a number of additional Tribal science issues that it will address in the coming years. The issues present a range of priority environmental science concerns and include:
Supporting the release and implementation of EPA's dioxin reassessment
and reference dose;
Identifying ongoing work at EPA on chemical mixtures and cumulative impacts and promoting increased research in this area;
Providing input into the Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins Monitoring Workgroup aimed at reducing persistent organic pollutants;
Increasing education about and cleanup of toxic mold in Tribal communities; promoting more research on the human environmental health impacts of pharmaceuticals in wastewater; and
Increasing Tribal monitoring capacity to examine how accelerated climate change is affecting Tribal resources.
The TSC is continually seeking input on priority science issues that Tribes may be facing and related activities that are going on across EPA or in other federal agencies. If you are interested in keeping up with TSC activities or have issues that you wish to raise, please contact the TSC Co-chairs: TSC Tribal Co-Chair, Chris Gannon at (541) 553-2020 or cgannon@wsTribes.org and the TSC Agency Co-Chair, Dennis O'Connor at (202) 564-9486 or Oconnor.Dennis@epa.gov. Additional information on the TSC can be found on EPA's Tribal Science website at http://www.epa.gov/osp/Tribes.htm.
EPA Continues Work on Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program Draft Guidelines
Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
The Environmental Protection Agency continues to work on the Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program Draft Guidelines. These guidelines, once finalized, will establish a program for drinking water system operators in Indian Country that is flexible, while providing meaningful public health protection in Indian Country. This voluntary program is intended to provide water system operators in Indian country with further training and certification opportunities in addition to the existing training or certification programs offered by states, various federal agencies, and private organizations. The guidelines will establish baseline standards that must be met for non-state organizations certifying operators of water systems in Indian Country to gain approval for their program from EPA. The guidelines also will include a consistent method of assessing, tracking, and addressing certification and training needs in Indian Country.
On March 30, 2000, EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW) published a first draft of these guidelines in the Federal Register and collected comments from stakeholders. The next step in this process is to publish a final draft of the guidelines within the Federal Register in February 2004 and solicit final comments from stakeholders. OGWDW then plans to publish the Final Guidelines in the Summer of 2004.
Although certification is voluntary, if a system is to receive grant funds under the Drinking Water Infrastructure Grant Tribal Set-Aside (DWIG TSA) program, operator certification is required in order to meet the "technical capacity" requirements for receiving funds. The DWIG TSA policy is available at www.epa.gov/safewater/tribes.html. Also, EPA identified a goal for operator certification in the 1998-2003 OGWDW Tribal Strategy "Protecting Public Health and Water Resources in Indian Country: A Strategy for EPA/Tribal Partnership." The goal states that by 2005, 80 percent of Tribal community and non-transient, non-community water systems will have a certified operator. Establishing a final Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program will help achieve this goal while bringing greater public health protection to Tribal communities.
Readers may contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or Jill Nogi, EPA Office of Water, at 202-564-1721 or email@example.com for more information regarding the Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program Draft Guidelines and associated updates. Readers also may visit the EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water web site at www.epa.gov/safewater/Tribal.html for updates.
Finally, to help jump start the Tribal operator certification program, EPA is providing one-time grant funding for one or more nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, or public agencies. The grant funding will assist in developing a new (or amend an existing) certification program that meets the baseline standards of EPA's Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program Final Guidelines, once published. EPA wants to ensure that all operators of water systems in Indian Country have access to training and certification programs that meet the particular needs of Indian communities. The Request for Applications from nonprofit and Tribal organizations, educational institutions, or public agencies interested in certifying operators of Tribal community and non-transient, non-community drinking water systems also may be obtained from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or from the EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water web site once the guidelines are final and published in the Fedral Register this Summer.
Tribal Water Quality Standards
Indian Tribes are developing water quality standards to protect reservation lands. Tribes like the Miccosukee in Florida, the Puyallup in Washington, and the Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico have water quality standards that are consistent with the Clean Water Act.
Water quality standards are utilized to protect and improve water quality. Tribes may use them to define the use of a waterbody and address the amount of pollutants from sources like industrial facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and storm sewers that may be discharged into those waters. Water quality standards are defined by three criteria:
The designated use or the description of the goal for the waterbody
(such as fishing, swimming, cultural or traditional uses)
Water quality criteria (limits on pollutants and conditions that will protect the designated use) Antidegradation policy governing changes in water quality.
Today, 23 Indian Tribes have water quality standards approved by EPA that protect water quality on reservation lands. A total of 22 Tribes developed their own water quality standards, and EPA promulgated water quality standards for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington. An Indian Tribe can obtain authorization to administer their water quality standards program by meeting certain criteria. You may contact EPA's Standards and Health Protection Division at 202-566-0400 to obtain specific information about authorization to administer a water quality standards program on reservation lands and the appropriate criteria.
In June 2003, EPA released a video, "Our Water, Our Future: Saving Our Tribal Life Force Together," that tells about the successful efforts of two Indian Tribes - the Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico, and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Washington. These two Indian Tribes developed water quality standards for their reservations. They saw the quality of their water deteriorating and took positive steps to protect present and future generations by adopting their own water quality standards. EPA approved the Pueblo of Acoma's water quality standards in 2001, and the water quality standards for the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation were approved in 1997. Readers may obtain the video by contacting Eleanor Jackson at 202-566-0052 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is EPA's intent that Tribes have their own water quality standards. In support of this goal, EPA's Regional Water Quality Standards Coordinators work with Tribes to review and approve their water quality standards. You can learn more about Tribal-adopted and EPA-approved water quality standards by visiting the Agency's web site at www.epa.gov/waterscience/standards/wyslibrary/tribes.html.
You also may contact EPA's Standards and Health Protection Division at 202-566-0400 to obtain information about program authorization for the water quality standards program and to obtain the name and phone number of the appropriate Regional Water Quality Standards Coordinator in your area.
Tribal Water Quality Standards Approved by EPA (As of September 2003)
Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico
Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico
Pueblo of San Juan, New Mexico
Puyallup Tribe of the Puyallup Reservation, Washington
Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico
Pueblo of Picuris, New Mexico
Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico
Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Mole Lake Band, Wisconsin
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana
Pueblo of Pojoaque, New Mexico
Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Washington
Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico
Seminole Tribe of Florida, Florida
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, Florida
Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana
Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico
White Mountain Apache of the Fort Apache Reservation, Arizona
Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Oregon
Fond du Lac Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota
Hoopa Valley Tribe, California
Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation, Washington
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington
EPA's Office of Water also is considering a potential rulemaking that establishes federal standards for certain waters in Indian country where Tribal standards are not in-place. EPA's Office of Water has conducted outreach and discussion sessions with Tribes and others on a possible Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). The ANPRM would discuss possible approaches for promulgating the Federal water quality standards, and EPA's Office of Water would initiate an open public comment period on the approaches. Should you require additional information, contact Ed Hanlon, EPA Standards and Health Protection Division, 202-566-0765, email@example.com
Tribal Nonpoint Source Program Grants and Training
Office of Water
Clean Water Act (CWA) section 319 Nonpoint Source (NPS) Program grants are available to federally recognized Tribes with approved NPS assessment reports and management plans, and status under section 518 of the CWA for establishing treatment in a similar manner as a state. To acquaint Tribes with the NPS program and its purpose as a tool to improve water quality in watersheds, the NPS Control Branch in the EPA provides training on developing Tribal NPS management programs. More than 1,000 Tribal representatives have participated in these training workshops to understand program requirements, how to apply for grants, and the best management practices available to reduce pollution along riparian areas and erosion from grazing and farming practices. Grant funding to Tribes with approved programs is approximately $6 million annually. To date, 75 individual Tribes are in the program, accounting for over 75% of land area in Indian country.
EPA Region 9 has the most participating Tribes in the section 319 NPS program. In FY 2003, Tribes in EPA Region 9 (which includes the states of AZ, CA, HI, NV) received $4 million for implementing on the ground improvement projects in priority watersheds. The Region produced a brochure to describe the successful projects being implemented by Tribes such as the removal of invasive species to improve infiltration, decommissioning abandoned forest roads to reduce erosion, constructing fences to control migrating animals from destroying vegetation, and building water troughs for watering cattle to prevent cattle from polluting area streams. EPA Regions 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 also have Tribes participating in the NPS program.
For more information on section 319 NPS funding and training courses for Tribes, please contact Ed Drabkowski at 202-566-1198 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rulemaking on Implementation of 8-Hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ground-Level Ozone
Adapted from EPA Office of Water Press Advisory, May 14, 2003
On June 2, 2003, EPA took an important step in protecting the American public from ground-level ozone pollution by proposing a rule that outlines steps certain polluted areas would have to take to clean up their air. The proposed rule would establish guidelines for State and Tribal authorities to implement the 8- hour national air quality standard for ozone, first enacted by EPA in 1997 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001. The proposal sought public comment on options for planning and control requirements for States and Tribes, as well as on options for making the transition from the 1-hour ozone standard to the 8-hour standard. The new 8-hour standard is more protective of public health than the current 1-hour standard because it more accurately reflects people's exposure to ground-level ozone.
The proposed rule describes options for classifying nonattainment areas; however, the proposal does not make any attainment designations. A nonattainment area violates the ozone standard and/or contains areas that contribute to violations of the standard in a nearby area. Designations for nonattainment areas will occur by April 15, 2004 under a separate process. EPA took comments on this proposed rule; the comment period ended August 1, 2003. The Agency also held three public hearings across the country on the proposed rule: Dallas, Texas on June 17, 2003; San Francisco, California on June 19, 2003; and Alexandria, Virginia on June 27, 2003. In addition, a Federal Register notice was published on August 6, 2003. Under a 30-day comment period EPA made available draft text that illustrates how one set of options, which were proposed on June 2, 2003, would be structured in regulatory language. Also, based on comments received on October 21, 2003, EPA reopened the comment period for 15 days on several alternative approaches to classifying nonattainment areas.
Due to the complexity of the rule, EPA plans to issue the final rulemaking in two phases. The first phase is expected to address the classification approach, the transition from the 1-hour to the 8-hour standard, and anti-backsliding provisions. This first phase is expected in late February 2004. The second phase rule would contain the remainder of the requirements and is expected around April 2004.
More information is available at www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/ozone/o3imp8hr.
An Update with Our Regions
The Region 1 Tribal Program is a multi-media program headed by Jim Sappier, a former Penobscot Tribal Governor. In the Region 1 New England area, there are 9 federally recognized Tribes, and the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation currently awaits federal recognition. The Region 1 Tribal Program maintains a web site, www.epa.gov/region01/govt/Tribes. Here users can obtain profiles or the New England Tribes, information on Tribal environmental programs and accomplishments, a map of the locations of New England's Tribes, an overview of EPA's Indian Program structure, a link to EPA's Indian Policy, contacts within the region, and the Region 1 Tribal Newsletter.
The Region 1 Tribal newsletter, Region 1 Indian Program Newsletter, is published twice per year and highlights recent regional, national, and international news; announcements; meetings; and workshops. The Region 1 Tribal Program supports its Tribes in several multimedia initiatives, and funding for the Regional Program has grown from $55,000 to $3 million.
Within EPA Region 2, there are several Indian lands, including the following federally recognized Indian nations: Cayuga Nation, Oneida Indian Nation, Onondaga Nation, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Seneca Nation of Indians, Tonawanda Band of Senecas, and Tuscarora Nation. These seven federally recognized Tribes are located in the external boundaries of New York State and are members of the Iroquois Confederacy.
The Region 2 Indian Program provides outreach to these federally recognized Indian nations and continues building an Indian nation environmental program that supports grant program and technical assistance to Indian nations. Grants under the General Assistance Program, as well as program specific grants, have supported development of environmental capabilities of the Indian nations. Also, Region 2 has a Regional Indian Program Coordinator, an Indigenous Environmental Affairs Specialist, and program staff and managers who carry out activities and outreach. Region 2's training program entitled "Training on Working Effectively with Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples" provides Region 2 employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to assist them in working with Indian nations and indigenous people, while implementing the Agency's Indian Policy. The Region 2 Indian Program maintains a web site, www.epa.gov/Region2/nations/intro.htm.
Region 4's Indian Program works to protect human health and the environment in Indian Country by promoting the comprehensive implementation of EPA's regulatory and voluntary programs in partnership with the federally recognized Tribes. Specifically, Region 4's Indian Program assists the Indian Tribes in the region to build environmental programs and compliance capabilities and capacity. Region 4's Indian Program provides Tribal governments with information, training, and grant funding and addresses Indian issues and the impact of Region 4 activities on Native Americans. Region 4's recent Tribal Environmental Accomplishments Report depicts many accomplishments of the Tribal governments in the region as a result of Region 4 support, including water and sewer system improvements, newly opened recycling centers, increased environmental monitoring of all media types, and more vigorous enforcement of media programs. The Region 4 Indian Program maintains a web site, www.epa.gov/region4/ead/indian/index.htm.
The Region 5 Indian Environmental Office (IEO) serves the needs of 35 federally recognized Indian Tribes through grants assistance and management, training and technical assistance, and coordination services with other programs. The mission for Region 5 is to provide leadership for protecting public health and the environment in Indian country, while respecting the sovereignty of each Tribe and recognizing Federal trust responsibility. The region's IEO was established in March 2000 to provide a "one-stop shop" for Tribal-related issues and was formed in response to expanding tribal environmental needs and to fulfill the overall commitments to Indian Tribes found in the EPA Indian Policy. The office serves as a centralized point of contact for Tribal governments, inter-Tribal organizations, other federal agencies, and EPA staff on Tribal policies and activities. The office also serves as the first point of contact for Indian Tribes in Region 5 seeking federal environmental programs, as well as financial and technical assistance which relates to the development and delegation of Tribal environmental programs. The Region 5 IEO maintains a web site, www.epa.gov/Region5/Tribes/index.htm.
EPA Region 6's Regional Native American Office is located in the region's Office of External Affairs and was created by the EPA Regional Administrator in late 1996. The goal of the Regional Native American Office is to support Tribal self-government, uphold federal trust responsibilities, and firmly establishing a government-to-government relationship between the Tribes and the EPA regional office. Region 6's Regional Native American Office is committed to an intra-agency and inter-agency Tribal advocacy approach to environmental issues facing Tribal lands within Region 6. In order to create and sustain this goal, Region 6 utilizes communication, coordination, advocacy, strategic planning and budgeting, policy, liaisons, training, and grants communications. Region 6 aims to provide general, technical, financial, and administrative support to the Tribes, while coordinating with the Region's other media offices to ensure technical assistance and training is provided to Tribal governments and its employees.
The Region 6 Regional Native American Office maintains a web site, www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/Tribal.htm.
Region 7 maintains a Tribal Air Program, as well as a solid waste program that assists Tribes. The air program in EPA Region 7 works with nine Tribes in their efforts to protect their air quality. All the Tribes in the region are fairly small and range from about 30 to 5,200 resident Tribal members. The Region 7 air program assists Tribes in their efforts to address air quality concerns relating to particulates, diesel trucks and train engines, road dust emissions from upwind power plants and releases from chemical plants. The major sources of these air pollution concerns in Indian country include utilities, small manufacturing companies, and sand and gravel operations, as well as service stations and automobile emissions.
The Region 7 air program follows its Tribal Authority Rule, which was authorized in 1990, to grant authority to Tribes to conduct Clean Air Act (CAA) Programs on their land and set forth provisions for which Tribes can become eligible to implement federally enforceable CAA programs. Region 7 maintains a web site, www.epa.gov/Region7/government_Tribal/index.htm, with links to its Tribal Air Program, as well as information on solid waste programs for Tribes.
EPA Region 8 includes 27 federally recognized Tribal governments, and the mission of the EPA Region 8 Tribal Assistance Program is to provide leadership in protecting public health and the environment within these areas of Indian Country; respecting the sovereignty of each Tribe, as well as recognize federal trust responsibilities. The EPA Region 8 Policy for Environmental Protection in Indian Country was signed by the Regional Administrator on March 14, 1996. This policy supports work with Tribal governments on a government-to-government basis, Tribal self-governance, protection of human health and environment in Indian country; Tribal government agreement before decision making, assistance to Tribal governments in building Tribal capacity, cooperation between Tribal and State governments, cooperative partnerships with other federal agencies, and public participation.
The Region 8 Tribal Assistance Program maintains a web site, www.epa.gov/region8/Tribes/.
Through collaborative efforts across all program offices, EPA Region 9 supports the 1984 Indian Policy, with the goal of protecting and enhancing ecosystems, human health, and cultural resources in Indian Country. Region 9 ensures that its trust responsibility to federally recognized Tribes is carried out and encourages a government-to-government relationship. Region 9 envisions a partnership and an environmental presence with every federally recognized Tribe. EPA Region 9 is committed to helping build Tribal capacity to manage Indian Country environmental programs and to ensure that Tribes have a voice in decisions that affect their land, air, and water resources.
The Region 9 Indian Programs Office publishes a monthly newsletter that is circulated among the Tribes within EPA Region 9. The newsletter contains the latest information concerning Tribal meetings, conferences, environmental training programs, grant and loan information, deadline dates, and contacts for further questions. The Region 9 Indians Program Office maintains a web site, www.epa.gov/Region9/cross_pr/indian/index.html.
EPA Region 10 is committed to protecting human health and the environment throughout the Region, including the lands and resources of Indian Tribes, while supporting Tribal self-government, fulfilling the federal trust responsibility, and strengthening the government-to-government relationship between the Tribes of Region 10 and EPA. The mission of the Region 10 Tribal Program is to protect and restore the lands and environmental resources of Indian Tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska for present and future generations. The goals of the Region 10 Tribal Program are to fully meet our responsibility for government-to-government relations with Tribes in all aspects of the Region's work; accomplish all direct implementation responsibilities; provide full program delegation and capacity building opportunities for Tribes; increase permanent resource commitments for Tribal workload and strategy implementation; and ensure Region 10 resources are used as efficiently as possible.
The Region 10 Tribal Program maintains a web site, http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/Tribal.NSF.
A Look at the EPA Region 1 Tribal Program
EPA Region 1's Tribal Program is a multi-media program headed by Jim Sappier, a former Penobscot Tribal Governor. Valerie Bataille-Ferry a former Tribal employee, with close connections to New England's federally recognized Tribes is the Senior Regional Indian Program Specialist. Jean Crocker is the Regional Indian Program Specialist with over 20 years of grants experience. The Program also receives SEE support as well as part time legal, grants and clerical support. Nine Region 1 staff serve as Tribal Coordinators.
The following federally recognized Tribes within Region 1 are:
Narragansett Indian Tribe
Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
Passamaquoddy Tribe Indian Township
Passamaquoddy Tribe Pleasant Point
Penobscot Indian Nation
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Aroostook Band of Micmacs
Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation*
*Federal recognition pending Indian Program Structure
Structure of National and Regional Indian Programs
The Region 1 Indian Program is physically located within the Office of Ecosystems Protection (OEP), with the Office of State and Tribal Grants having administrative and management responsibilities within the EPA internal structure. The Indian Program has a direct line to the Regional Administrator and the American Indian Environmental Office. The decision to be placed within this system came from the Leadership Team as advised by the Regional Tribal Operations Committee.
The Indian Program is called on from time to time to represent the programs view at the Office Director's meetings, on an on-call basis regarding subject-matters affecting Tribes.
Besides the staff of the Regional Indian Program, there are nine EPA Tribal Coordinators, the Regional Indian Work Group and the technicians and media program representatives who support the priorities of the Tribal program in accordance with the EPA Indian Policy.
Regional Programs and Operations:
Structure: Federally-recognized Tribes reside in nine of the Agency's ten regions (Region 3 is the exception). Each of these nine regions has appointed a Regional Indian Coordinator, and some of the regions have established an Indian program office. Most of the regions have a Regional Indian Work Group that acts as a regional counterpart to the National Indian Work Group. Some regions have field staff to work directly with the Tribes in their development and implementation of environmental programs. These field staff are sometimes referred to as Indian Environmental Liaisons or Circuit Riders, depending on the region. Most of the regions have also established a regional counterpart to the Tribal Operations Committee. Some regions have a formal Regional Tribal Operations Committee (RTOC) comprised of Tribes residing within that region, while others have instituted regular meetings between Tribal leaders and the region's senior management. Some regions have both an RTOC and regular all-Tribes meetings.
Purpose: Regional programs and related operations are responsible for day-to-day interaction with Tribes and "on-the-ground" implementation of EPA's Tribal programs based on regional priorities. They are responsible for meeting with and providing support to Tribes within their regions, getting Tribal input on issues that impact them, and communicating these needs and concerns to EPa headquarters staff.
National Indian Program Structure:
The structure of EPA's Indian Program involves a variety of individuals and organizations throughout EPa headquarters and Regions. Each of these individuals and organizations is dedicated to protecting human health and Tribal environments, in a manner consistent with EPA's trust responsibility to federally recognized Tribes, the government-to-government relationship, and the preservation of cultural uses of natural resources. The paragraphs below describe the various organizations and functions for which they are responsible.
American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO)
The American Indian Environmental Office, working with its regional components, is responsible for leading and coordinating the Agency-wide effort to strengthen public health and environmental protection in Indian country. AIEO oversees development and implementation of the Agency's Indian policy and the Indian Program Strategic Plan. The office strives to ensure that all EPa headquarters and regional offices implement their parts of the Agency's Indian Program in a manner consistent with EPA's trust responsibility regarding protection of Tribal health and environment, administration policy to work with Tribes on a government-to-government basis, and support of Tribal self-governance. The Office advises the Administrator and headquarters offices as well as assisting and maintaining the TOC.
Tribal Operations Committee (TOC)
Structure: The Agency established the Tribal Operations Committee (TOC) in February 1994. The TOC comprises 19 Tribal leaders or their environmental program managers (the Tribal caucus) and EPA's Senior Leadership Team, including the Administrator, the Deputy Administrator, and the Assistant and Regional Administrators. The TOC meets on a regular basis to discuss implementation of environmental protection programs in Indian Country. The TOC and EPA work closely to develop EPA's budget and resource allocations to meet the needs of environmental protection throughout Indian Country.
Purpose: The overall purpose of the TOC is to improve communications and build stronger partnerships with all Tribes. The TOC provides the Agency with valuable input on EPA Indian Policies and various aspects of the Indian Program. Although the TOC is an important and effective vehicle for enhancing communications between EPA and the Tribes, it is not a substitute for Agency consultation with individual Tribes in accordance with the Administration policy of working with Indian Tribes on a government-to-government basis.
National Indian Work Group (NIWG)
Structure: The NIWG is chaired by the Director of the American Indian Environmental Office and is composed of representatives from regional and program offices, generally the Indian Coordinator. NIWG holds regular biweekly conference calls and usually meets at least once each year.
Purpose: The role of the National Indian Work Group (NIWG) was initially defined in the 1984 Indian Policy Implementation Guidance. NIWG was established to facilitate and coordinate efforts to identify and resolve policy and programmatic barriers to working directly with Indian Tribes; implement comprehensive Tribal environmental programs; identify priority Tribal projects; perform other services in support of the Agency managers in implementing the Indian policy; and report progress related to these activities.
National Indian Law Work Group (NILWG)
Structure: The National Indian Law Work Group is composed of lawyers from EPA's regional counsel and program offices, the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and from the Department of Justice who work on federal Indian law issues. The group also includes policy staff from AIEO and other EPA offices. NILWG meets once a month via teleconference to discuss pressing or nationally-significant Indian law issues related to environmental protection and to exchange information on common issues and problems. Also, NILWG usually meets face-to-face once each year.
Purpose: The NILWG is the counterpart to the National Indian Work Group. It addresses legal issues that arise in the course of developing and implementing the Agency's Indian Program. It plays an active role in eliminating the legal and regulatory barriers to implementing environmental programs in Indian country.
American Indian Advisory Council (AIAC)
Structure: The American Indian Advisory Council (AIAC) is a Special Emphasis Program Council organized under the Office of Civil Rights. Membership is open to all employees of EPA. National conference calls take place on a monthly basis.
Purpose: The central purpose of AIAC is to serve as an advisory group to the Administrator of EPA to recommend actions that address concerns of American Indians in the EPA workforce and of the Indian Tribes.
National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Indigenous Peoples Subcommittee (NEJAC)
Structure: The National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) was charted as a Federal Advisory Committee in 1993. The Council has 25 representatives from key environmental justice constituencies, including community-based groups, business and industry, academic and educational institutions, Tribal governments, State and local governments, and non-governmental organizations. The Council has six subcommittees, one of which is the Indigenous Peoples Subcommittee. This Subcommittee has eight members with a diversity of backgrounds, such as Tribal government, indigenous grassroots groups and environmental organizations, Tribal business and industry, academia, and State government.
Purpose: This Subcommittee is primarily focused on reviewing Agency actions to address environmental justice and developing recommendations for bringing about environmental justice in Indian country.
TRIBAL SCIENCE COUNCIL (TSC)
The mission of the Tribal Science Council is to provide a forum for interaction with Tribes and Agency representatives of mutual benefit and responsibility to work collaboratively on environmental scientific issues, addressing a wide range of scientific issues including research, monitoring, modeling, information, technology, and training in Indian Country. To support the subsistence, cultural, and ceremonial lifestyles of Indians and the safe use and availability of a healthy environment for present and future generations, the TSC is committed to development of sound holistic, integrated and cross-media scientific approaches. The relationship between the Tribes and EPA in the TSC will not substitute for but rather augment the government-to-government relationship. TSC is composed of representatives from ORD, AIEO, OAR, OSWER, OPPTS, OW, OPEI and Regional Scientists, and TOC members.
LEAD REGION-INDIAN PROGRAM
The purpose of the Lead Region System is to ensure that the Agency makes quality decisions by providing the Regions with a formal opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.
Goals as Lead Region:
to impact Headquarters, Offices, Decision-making Processes,
to build regional consensus views and represent majority and minority positions on significant policy, program or administrative activities,
to balance national consistency and regional flexibility, and,
to enhance effective communications between the Regional and HQ offices and within the Regional Offices (ROs) and HQs for all activities.
Each RO and HQs Program Office has a role in improving the quality of EPA's decisions. It requires each participant to look beyond their individual responsibilities and to take actions that result in environmental benefits. HQs and the ROs work cooperatively towards this common goal. These roles and responsibilities facilitate the process for the Indian Program. Back-up Region and Sub-Lead Region(s) to Lead Region for the Indian Program share responsibilities.
In order to address the large number of individual media programs the Regional Indian Program Managers/Regional Indian Coordinators (RICs), National Program Manager's (NPM) representatives and AIEO staff members have been integrated within the National Indian Work Group (NIWG) network. The NIWG network is instrumental in identifying issues, presenting options and recommendations and developing consensus positions to present to HQs. NIWG members participate in regular conference calls and national meetings. Lead Region utilizes this routine communication flow to develop or resolve a Lead Region issue. The RIC and HQ members are responsible for Regional and headquarters contacts with the respective Office.
Communication is key to effectiveness. A number of methods have been established to facilitate an on-going dialogue between the Regions and HQs and within the ROs and HQ's Offices through meetings, conferences and conference telephone calls, usually on a bi-monthly basis.
The 7th Annual EPA Region 6 Tribal Environmental Summit
The 7th Annual EPA Region 6 Tribal Environmental Summit was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 15-16, 2003. The summit took place at the Albuquerque Marriott Hotel. The event was sponsored and coordinated by the EPA Region 6 Inter-Tribal Environmental Council. A detailed conference summary will follow in our next Spring 2004 issue.
For more information, please contact Nancy John or Sheila Sevenstar at 918-458-5496.
A Decade of Tribal/EPA Partnerships
Tribes and EPA Celebrate 10 Years of GAP in November 2003
American Indian Environmental Office
EPA's General Assistance Program (GAP) was developed under the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program Act of 1992 in hopes to help Tribes establish environmental programs unique to specific environmental and cultural needs within Indian country. Over the past decade, Tribes throughout the U.S. have partnered with EPA through GAP to protect the environment in Indian country and have accomplished the following:
Tribes have received help in building the capacity and programs
needed to meet their individual needs
Nearly 500 Tribes are developing environmental programs
Tribes have closed open dumps and implemented waste management and reduction programs in many reservation lands.
There are over 565 federally recognized Tribes in the U.S., and each Tribe confronts unique environmental and human health issues. Compared with other cultures and groups in the U.S., Tribes face serious economic, environmental, and public health challenges. In order to combat some of these issues, EPA's GAP has provided millions of dollars each year to Tribes, and in 2003, allotted nearly $60 million through approximately 500 GAP grants. GAP funds have been used to identify baseline environmental problems and needs; develop appropriate environmental programs, ordinances, and public education and outreach efforts; ensure that Tribal governments are informed and able to participate in environmental decision-making; and promote communication and coordination between federal, state, local, and Tribal environmental officials. For more information regarding EPA's GAP program, contact the EPA American Indian Environmental Office at 202-564-0303 or www.epa.gov/indian.
The DUNS Is Upon Us
Office of Administration and Resource Management
WHEN: October 1, 2003 is a critical date that all Tribes along with States, Non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education and hospitals must prepare for. Individuals who personally receive assistance agreements from the Federal government are exempt from this requirement.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires all assistance agreement applications, new award and renewals including applications or plans under mandatory grant programs, submitted to any Federal agency or Department, as of October 1, 2003, include a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. The DUNS number requirement is in addition to other identification numbers required by statute or regulations, such as tax identification numbers. In other words ALL applications coming in from Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribal organizations MUST have a DUNS.
WHY: A DUNS number will be required whether the application is submitted in paper form or the government-wide electronic portal (Grants.gov). The reason for this is that the OMB has determined that there is a need for improved statistical reporting of all Federal assistance agreements (grants and cooperative agreements). Using the DUNS government-wide is to provide a better means of identifying and tracking entities receiving assistance award and their business relationships as well as validating addresses and points of contract information.
HOW: Organizations can receive a DUNS number in ONE DAY and at NO COST to the organization by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS Number request line at 1-866-705-5711. There also is a website where an organization can obtain their DUNS number: http://dnb.com
CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION! if you use the website and want the same ONE DAY turnaround time that is available through the toll-free line you will be charged a $40 fee, otherwise your number will be issued within 30 BUSINESS DAYS.
WHERE: Currently there is no special place for the DUNS number on the application document (SF-424). As a temporary measure until the new forms can be completed, the DUNS number may be entered on the current application document (SF-424) address block. The new revised version of the SF-424 will include a DUNS number filed. This new revised SF-424 should be available some time between October and December, 2003. You will be able to download the file once it is available at the following website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/sf424.pdf
More information on the announcement of the DUNS requirement can be found in the Federal Register/ Vol. 68, No. 124 pages 38402 to 38405, Friday, June 27, 2003 located at the following website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/grants_docs.html
Native Peoples Fisheries Section of American Fisheries Society Symposium, "Where's the fish? Traditional and Contemporary Indigenous Management of Wild Fish"
The Native Peoples Fisheries Section (NPFS) symposium was held in Quebec, Canada on August 11, 2003. The goal of the symposium was to compare and contrast traditional and historical indigenous fish management with contemporary and scientific methods worldwide to showcase both variety and diversity of geography and methodology. U.S. and Canadian biologists and managers from native, Tribal, or indigenous fisheries programs participated in the symposium. The focus of the discussion was to examine Tribal solutions to declining wild fish stocks and individual Tribal solutions and strategies.
For more information, please contact Mel Moon, NPFS President, Quileute Natural Resources Director, Quileute Indian Tribe, P.O. Box 187, LaPush, Washington 98350, 360-374-3133, 360-374-9250 (fax), email@example.com or Karsten Boysen, Quileute Natural Resources Information and Education Officer, Quileute Indian Tribe, P.O. Box 187, LaPush, Washington 98350, 360-374-4361, 360-374-9250 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCFO Planning and Budget Update
Office of Chief Financial Officer
While EPA waits for Congress to act on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 President's Budget Request, formulation of the FY 2005 request is well under way. The Agency's FY 2005 Budget was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget on September 8, 2003. In Washington, one of the hot topics is the anticipated federal budget deficit for FY 2003 (ending September 30). Although times are tight, the Administration and the Agency remain committed to forging a budget that will help strengthen core program performance, achieve clear environmental results, and empower our State and Tribal partners in environmental protection.
Budget 101: The FY 2005 Cycle
On any given day during the calendar year, EPA is typically working on budgets for three different fiscal years. The present time is no exception. Currently, the Agency is preparing for the closeout of FY 2003, working with Congress on their decisions for the FY 2004 appropriation, and, of course, formulating FY 2005. This simultaneous fiscal year budget work can be a source of confusion for many folks both inside and outside the federal resource community; a good way to build understanding is by isolating a fiscal year and walking through its cycle. There's no better example than the current formulation year, FY 2005.
Planning for FY 2005 began almost immediately after the FY 2004 budget request was sent to Congress in February 2003. During the spring and throughout the summer, EPA's planning and budget community and senior management worked to determine budget priorities, while also revising its strategic plan (more on that later). The Agency's FY 2005 budget was submitted to OMB on September 8, 2003. Over the next few months, OMB will review the request and give a Passback (OMB's decisions) to the Agency (most likely in late November or early December). EPA will have three days to appeal the OMB Passback. Appeals will be granted or denied rather quickly and the Agency will use these decisions to build a final FY 2005 President's Budget request for submission to Congress in February 2004.
So what happens after the President's FY 2005 Budget goes to Capitol Hill? First, there are budget hearings with EPA's authorizing and appropriations committees. Based on the request and these hearings, Congress will determine a funding level for the Agency and pass a bill. Theoretically, this appropriation would be passed by October 1, 2004 (the first day of FY 2005); however a more likely scenario is that the Agency will operate under a series of Continuing Resolutions (CRs) until Congress and the Administration can agree on appropriated funding levels. A CR will appropriate short term funding to EPA, so it can continue operations until a bill is passed. Once EPA receives its appropriation, the Agency will then develop the FY 2005 Operating Plan. The Operating Plan takes into account the changes Congress made to the President's Budget and makes the necessary adjustments, so all the programs and offices can receive the funding they need. Upon completion, the Operating Plan is submitted to Congress. Around August 2005, EPA will be preparing for the closeout of FY 2005, which will end on September 30, 2005.
Throughout the FY 2005 cycle, "budgeteers" will also work on the FY 2004 Operating Plan and Closeout, as well as FY 2006 formulation. Things can get pretty complex, when the Agency finds itself dealing with an Operating Plan for one year and a President's Budget for another year at the same time, but somehow EPA always manages to meet its deadlines.
EPA's New Strategic Plan
The Agency is presently in the home stretch of finalizing its 2003 Strategic Plan. As you all know, throughout the process, EPA actively sought and received very useful input from Tribes. One of the positive developments in the new Plan is that a number of strategic targets exist which identify specific performance commitments relating to Indian Country.
Possibly, the most noticeable change in the new Strategic Plan would be the switch from a ten to a five goal structure. The five new goals are titled:
Goal 1: Clean Air and Global Climate Change
Goal 2: Clean and Safe Water
Goal 3: Land Restoration and Preservation
Goal 4: Healthy Communities and Ecosystems
Goal 5: Compliance and Environmental Stewardship
A significant aspect of this goal restructuring relates to the Agency's desire to highlight an integrated approach in achieving a human health protection and a healthy environment. All of EPA's programs work toward the singular goal of environmental strength, so this approach only makes sense.
So, where do the Agency's Tribal programs fit into this new architecture? Goal 5/Objective 3 is titled "Build Tribal Capacity." It is against this Objective that EPA measures its progress in collecting Tribal environmental information and developing environmental programs in Indian country. From a budget perspective, the "Build Tribal Capacity" objective houses the resources for the American Indian Environmental Office and the Tribal General Assistance Program grants. Despite the fact that this is the only Objective with "Tribal" in the title, Tribal specific resources and annual performance measures can be found throughout the FY 2005 budget under the new five goal structure. For example, the Alaska Native Villages grants are housed under the "Protect Water Quality" objective (Goal 2/Objective 2) and the Agency tracks annual progress in Tribal hazardous waste management under the "Manage Hazardous Waste and Petroleum Products Properly" objective (Goal 3/Objective 2).
Tying it all Together
At EPA, it is not uncommon for the budget and the strategic plan to be mentioned in the same sentence and that's the point. Planning and budgeting are so inter-related that the Agency has worked to make them inseparable. This is reflected not only in the documents, but also in the internal processes and management information systems. You've gotta plan for the budget and budget for the plan!
EPA Office of Pesticide Programs Completes 2003 Tribal Grant Award Cycle
Office of Pesticide Programs
Each year since 1997, EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs has awarded approximately $445,500 to Tribes across the country to support pesticide water quality and special project work. We congratulate the following award recipients for the 2003 fiscal cycle, and encourage all Tribes to continue their innovative and important environmental protection efforts. We expect to issue a new request for proposals under the OPP Tribal grant program in January 2004. For further information contact Karen Rudek, EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (7506C0), Washington, DC 20460, 703-305-6005, email@example.com.
Tribe Name: Bad River Band of Chippewa
For: Assessment of Chemical Noxious Weed Control. Since 1999, the Bad River Natural resources has, with Council approval, been spraying noxious invasive vegetation (Purple Loosestrife) with a 2% mixture of the herbicide Rodeo. The increased use of this herbicide has led to concerns about the potential impacts it may be having on the wetlands complex where Tribal members engage in subsistence hunting, fishing and gathering. This proposal will fund an assessment of those impacts, allow a determination as to whether current control methods create opportunities for the invasion of other noxious weeds, and create public awareness programs including information on best management practices and alternative weed control methods.
Tribe Name: Chickasaw
For: Assessment of Cultural Exposures to Pesticides. The project will assess pesticide accumulation in two different types of resources used to supplement food in the geographic region. It will initiate and assessment of fish in Lake Texoma and it will identify plants and related resources that are culturally significant and determine whether those resources are with pesticides. The project will also develop education and outreach materials that will be used to educate communities on the risks of pesticide contamination in local resources.
Tribe Name: Eastern Band of Cherokee
For: Pesticide Screening of the town of Kituwah and the Cooper's Creek Properties. Under this project, the Tribe will sample groundwater and soil from each of the newly re-acquired properties. The screening will produce an assessment of the effects of past use of pesticides on these lands and enable the Tribal Environmental Office to provide better direction to the Tribe as to the management of these lands.
Tribe Name: Fond du Lac
For: Pesticide Management Plan Development and Ground Water Vulnerability Assessment. This is the second phase of the pesticide application inventory funded by this grant program in FY 2002. In this phase of the project, information already gathered will be supplemented with additional information required to develop a ground water pesticide management plan, and to conduct an aquifer vulnerability assessment. In the future, the results of these tasks will be used to develop a Tribal FIFRA Program for the Reservation.
Tribe Name: Houlton Band of Maliseet
For: Assessing Wells on Trust Lands for Agricultural Pesticide Contamination. This project will investigate the possibility that pesticides from agricultural applications on and around Tribal lands may be contaminating Tribal drinking water and pose risks to the health of Tribal members. Project goals include development of a quality assurance project plan (including sampling and analysis protocols) to assess Tribal well water for pesticide contamination, collecting verifiable data regarding this possible contamination, and data evaluation to determine if contaminants reach or exceed critical levels beyond which health effects are possible.
Tribe Name: Keeweenaw Bay Indian Community
For: Continuation of Surface Water Monitoring Efforts. This project will address possible water quality issues resulting from past and present forestry herbicide applications on the reservation. It will include herbicide sampling in conjunction with year three of an ongoing surface water quality monitoring program that has been funded by the Region.
Tribe Name: Poarch Band
For: Pesticide Assessment, Sampling and Analysis. This funding supports a written study of the historic use of pesticides on the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Reservation, identification of geographic areas where those pesticides may pose a threat to health and safety, development of sampling and quality assurance plans and a final report which will pinpoint possible problems with residual pesticides in ground water, soil or surface water. The assessment will provide a baseline for future actions.
Tribe Name: Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe
For: Carbaryl Study. The study will evaluate the minimum water surface application rate needed to achieve desired kill rates in ghost shrimp and the rate of loss of the pesticide due to tidal flux. It will determine whether a subsurface application will achieve the same kill rates using lower amounts of Carbaryl and whether this application will reduce the loss of pesticide due to tidal flux.
Tribe Name: Umatilla (Confederated Tribes)
For: Pesticide and Nutrient Fate on the Umatilla River Flood Plain. These funds will support a site-specific monitoring program to assess the potential influence of increased pesticide and nutrient loading associated with proposed ground water supplementation programs. Monitoring will occur in a side channel of the Umatilla river that flows perennially, but is fed only by ground water via seeps from an adjacent agricultural field and hyporheic ground water inputs as water moves from the main river channel, through a gravel bar, and into the side channel.
Tribe Name: White Mountain Apache
For: Community Education, Monitoring and Regulation of Pesticides on the Reservation, with Special Concern for Surface Water Protection. These funds will be used to educate individual Tribal members as well as other professionals living and/or working on the Reservation on the potential risks, both to the environment and to human health, associated with the use of pesticides. The project will monitor and restrict large-scale uses of pesticides on the Reservation and encourage safe handling and appropriate use of pesticides throughout the Reservation.
Tribe Name: Ysleta Pueblo
For: Developing Capacity; Determining Existing Exposure Health Risks. This project will help to develop capacity for Ysleta del Sur Pueblo to identify and address pesticide concerns and to determine whether Tribal health risks may exist due to potential pesticide exposure pathways. Project results will assist the Tribe in making informed decisions about the use of pesticides on the Reservation, and empower the community by building knowledge and identifying pesticide issues that must be addressed.
OECA Publishes Proposed 2005-2007 National Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Priorities in Federal Register
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
On December 10, 2003, EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) published a list of proposed 2005-2007 National Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Priorities in the Federal Register to solicit comments from the public. The following list of preliminary priorities is divided into current priorities and suggested new areas. The list includes a proposed Tribal priority to address significant human health and environmental problems associated with drinking water and waste management. For the potential Tribal priority, the objective would be to ensure compliance within targeted areas and to address adjacent non-complying facilities impacting Indian country and Tribal areas. In considering the list, Tribes should keep in mind that OECA is committed to identifying a very limited number of national priorities to retain flexibility to address emerging problems or issues as they arise.
Current National Priorities
Safe Drinking Water Act - Microbials Plus
Clean Water Act/Wet Weather
Clean Air Act/New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration
Clean Air Act/Air Toxics
Suggested New National Priorities
Tribal B Address significant human health and environmental problems
associated with drinking water and waste management
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act/Underground Storage Tanks
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act/Asbestos in Schools
Financial Responsibility B Strengthen compliance with financial responsibility requirements found under various environmental laws
Ports of Entry Warehousing Facilities B Reduce illegal handling or disposal of hazardous waste
Auto Salvaging Sector B Address significant potential of pollutants such as waste oils, gas, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, and lead
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act - Mineral Processing Facilities
Federal Facilities B Improve and better maintain compliance at Federal Facilities through more effective implementation of environmental management systems.
Miscellaneous Plastics Products Manufacturing Sector B Reduce public exposure to hazardous wastes and pollutants released to the land, air, and water
Environmental Justice B Ensure that no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic group bears a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial activities; or from the execution of federal, state, local and Tribal programs and policies
Fuels Management B Ensure compliance to minimize releases of hazardous pollutants at liquid petroleum and natural gas handling facilities
Significant Noncompliance Oversight B Ensure proper management of the enforcement and compliance programs under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act-National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Prior to publishing the Federal Register Notice, OECA asked each EPA Regional Office to engage its Tribal and State regulatory partners in discussions of existing and potential national program priorities. OECA received comments back from all EPA Regional Offices and six states. OECA provided copies of the Federal Register Notice to EPA's Tribal Operation Committee in December and invited the officers of the Tribal Caucus or their representatives to a January 21, 2004 national priorities meeting. EPA's American Indian Environmental Office sent a letter to each Tribal leader requesting they review and comment on the potential priorities. Finally, OECA distributed this list to the Tribal Association of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, the National Tribal Environmental Council, and the National Congress of American Indians.
After receiving and analyzing comments from Tribes, States, and the public, the Assistant Administrator for OECA will select the National Program Priorities for 2005-2007 using the following criteria: (1) significant environmental benefit; (2) serious patterns of noncompliance; and (3) areas or programs are better addressed through EPA=s federal capability in enforcement or compliance assistance. In February 2004, OECA will issue a draft work planning guidance on the selected national priorities to Regional Offices, Tribes, and States for final review.
Tribes and Tribal members interested in obtaining further information should contact Robert Tolpa, OECA Planning and Analysis Branch Chief, at 202-564B2337. Greater detail and background information regarding the priorities are available at http://cascade.epa.gov/RightSite/dk_public_collection_detail.htm?ObjectType=dk_docket_collection&cid=OECA-2003-0154&ShowList=items&Action=view.
EPA Web Sites and Hot Lines
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), www.epa.gov
American Indian Environmental Office, www.epa.gov/indian
Clean Water Indian Program, www.epa.gov/owm/mab/indian/index.htm
Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), www.epa.gov/oar
Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) Tribal Program, www.epa.gov/oar/Tribal
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), www.epa.gov/compliance
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) Tribal Program, www.epa.gov/compliance/planning/Tribal/index.html
Office of Environmental Information (OEI), www.epa.gov/oei
Office of Environmental Justice (EJ), www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice
Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), www.epa.gov/pesticides
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), www.epa.gov/opptintr
Office of Research and Development (ORD), www.epa.gov/science
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER), www.epa.gov/oswer
Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), www.epa.gov/safewater
Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), www.epa.gov/safewater/Tribal.html
Science and American Indians, www.epa.gov/osp/Tribes/
EPA Region 1, www.epa.gov/region01/govt/Tribes
EPA Region 2, www.epa.gov/Region2/nations/intro.htm
EPA Region 4, www.epa.gov/region4/ead/indian/index.htm
EPA Region 5, www.epa.gov/Region5/Tribes/index.htm
EPA Region 6, www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/Tribal.htm
EPA Region 7, www.epa.gov/Region7/government_Tribal/index.htm
EPA Region 8, www.epa.gov/region8/Tribes/
EPA Region 9, www.epa.gov/Region9/cross_pr/indian/index.html
EPA Region 10, http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/Tribal.NSF
Asbestos Ombudsman Hotline, 1-800-368-5888
EPCRA hotline, 1-800-535-0202
Lead Hotline, 1-800-532-3394
National Pesticide Telecommunication (NPTN) Hotline, www.ace.orst.edu/info/nptn,1-800-858-7378
TSCa hotline, 202-554-1404
Other Tribal-specific Web Sites and Hot Lines
American Indian Higher Education Consortia (AIHEC), Tribal Colleges,
American Indian Nations Cultural Information, www.nativeculture.com
American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), www.aises.org
Indian Health Service (IHS), www.ihs.gov
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP), www4.nau.edu/itep/intro.html
InterTribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), www.itcaonline.com
The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, www.glifwc.org
National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), www.ncai.org
National Museum of the American Indian, www.nmai.si.edu
National Tribal Environmental Council (NTEC), www.ntec.org
National Tribal Environmental Research Institute, www.nteri.net
Tribal Association of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, www.taswer.org
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Native Americans, www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ana
Calendar of Events
NCAI Executive Council Winter Session
Tribal Pesticide Program Council National Meeting
Lillian Wilmore, 617-232-5742, firstname.lastname@example.org
NTEC 2004 Conference
National Tribal Environmental Council, hosted by the Catawba Tribe of South Carolina
SpringMaid Resort and Conference Center
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Integrated Monitoring and Assessment for Effective Water Quality Management
EPA Office of Research and Development, Council of State Governments, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Newport, Rhode Island
Brian Melzian, 401-782-3188, email@example.com
Amanda hays, 859-244-8236, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tribal Pesticide Program Council National Meeting
Hosted by Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, Washington
Lillian Wilmore, 617-232-5742, email@example.com