Tribal Programs in OSWER Program Offices
National Tribal Information
There are six program offices in the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) that strive to preserve and restore land, including land on Indian Country. Below is a description of how these offices work with tribes and a link to their general websites. All six offices have a designated tribal coordinator. For specific contacts, please refer to the EPA Tribal Contacts page.
Office of Brownfields Land Revitalization (OBLR)
OBLR manages the cleanup, redevelopment and revitalization of Brownfield sites under the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Brownfields Law). The Brownfields Law authorizes funding for assessment and cleanup of brownfields properties and for state and tribal response programs.
Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
OEM’s overall mission is to provide national leadership to prevent, prepare for, and respond to, health and environmental emergencies, and includes the programs for Superfund emergency response, oil spill prevention (Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC)), and chemical emergency preparedness and prevention (Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Clean Air Act (CAA) section 112 (r)). The SPCC regulation is solely a federal program, while tribes have the same role as states in the development of chemical emergency preparedness programs under EPCRA. In addition, the CAA provides that eligible tribes may implement provisions of the CAA in the same manner as states.
Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office (FFRRO)
Some currently and formerly owned federal facility sites are contaminated with hazardous waste, ordnance and explosives, radioactive waste, fuels, and other toxic contaminants, and may be located on or near Indian country. FFRRO consists of two core components: the Superfund federal facilities response program and the base realignment and closure (BRAC) program. FFRRO works internally within EPA, as well as with Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DOE), and other federal agencies to find protective, creative, and cost-effective cleanup solutions.
Office of Resoure Conservation and Recovery (ORCR), ORCR Tribal Page
OSW administers EPA’s waste management program for facilities generating, transporting, treating and disposing of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste, and promotes pollution prevention and environmentally-sound recycling. OSW operates under the authority of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Based on the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Backcountry Against Dumps v EPA (October 29, 1997), tribes cannot be treated in the same manner as states for purposes of implementing RCRA programs.
Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI)
OSRTI implements the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) which provides broad authority for federal program response to releases of hazardous substances. CERCLA provides that EPA afford Indian tribes substantially the same treatment as States, and EPA works with tribes to identify and respond to eligible cleanup needs, enhance tribal participation in the cleanup process at sites impacting tribes, and provide technical assistance for effective clean up of uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites.
Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST), OUST Tribal Page
OUST implements the legislative requirements established under RCRA Subtitle I, mandating that the EPA regulate certain underground storage tanks that contain petroleum and hazardous substances. EPA has responsibility for direct implementation of the UST program in Indian country. In August 2006, OUST finalized an UST Tribal Strategy to implement Section 1529 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 in coordination with Indian tribes and EPA Regional offices.