Jump to main content.


Laws and Regulations

OSWER Tribal Program Quick Finder

OSWER Tribal Forum OSWER Tribal Strategy Tribal Partnerships Greening Tribal Casinos Grants and Funding Laws and Regulations EPA Tribal Contacts Highlights Underground Tank Tribal Program Solid Waste Management Tribal Program

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986
Oil Pollution Act of 1990
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act



Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund)

Statutory Overview
CERCLA provides broad authority for federal program response to releases of hazardous substances and pollutants or contaminants.

Tribal Status

Top of page


Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986
(Expanded on under the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990)

Statutory Overview
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) serves to inform communities and citizens of chemical hazards in their areas. EPCRA Section 313 requires covered facilities to annually report to EPA and their state on releases and transfers of toxic chemicals. EPA is required to make this data available to the public in a database, which is called the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 expanded the information required to be reported to the TRI to include information on waste management and source reduction activities. EPCRA also serves to encourage and support planning for responding to environmental emergencies.

Tribal Status
EPA recognizes a role for tribes similar to states in planning for responding to chemical emergencies. EPA regulations under EPCRA Section 313 establish requirements for covered facilities located in Indian Country to report TRI information to the appropriate tribes.

Top of page


Oil Pollution Act of 1990

Statutory Overview
The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) provided new requirements in part by amending section 311 of the Clean Water Act, for preventing, preparing for, and responding to any oil spill affecting inland U.S. waters; expanded liability provisions; and consolidated existing oil spill liability funds into, and strengthened, the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to provide greater resources to respond to oil spills.

Tribal Status

OSWER’s Oil Program uses the authorities under both OPA and the Clean Water Act (CWA), and their implementing regulations (NCP and the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Regulation (SPCC)) to address the potential environmental threats posed by petroleum and non-petroleum oils.

Top of page


Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Statutory Overview
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) governs the management of solid and hazardous waste and underground storage tanks (USTs) to ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally safe manner. The goals of RCRA also include conserving energy and natural resources through waste recycling and recovery and reducing or eliminating waste generation.

Tribal Status

Top of page


Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act

Statutory Overview
The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Brownfields Law, P.L. 107-118) amends CERCLA. The Law defines brownfields sites and authorizes funding for assessment and cleanup of brownfields properties and state and tribal response programs. The Law limits the liability of certain contiguous property owners and prospective purchasers of brownfieldds properties and clarifies appropriate inquiry for innocent landowners to encourage revitalization and reuse of brownfields sites.

Tribal Status
Tribes are treated as states under the Law, with the exception that Alaska Native tribes (not including the Metlakatla Indian Community) are prohibited from receiving Section 104 funding. Because implementation authority is given to non-federal entities, Brownfields is not an authorized program, and there is no express TAS requirement for tribes. The role of tribes is voluntary; tribes may develop response programs and/or inventory, assess, and cleanup sites.

Top of page


OSWER Tribal Programs | OSWER Home


Local Navigation


Jump to main content.