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Indian Country UST Program

Link to American Indian Tribal PortalEPA American Indian Tribal Portal

The EPA American Indian Tribal Portal is a gateway to EPA environmental information related to tribal governments, such as environmental policies, practices and laws.

American Indian Tribal Portal

Indian country is another unique term in federal Indian law, and is one of the most important terms for EPA's work. The term "Indian country" is defined by federal statue as "(a) all land within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States..., (b) all dependent Indian communities within the borders of the United States..., and (c) all Indian allotments."

The term "Indian country" has a precise legal definition. You may also hear the terms "tribal lands" or "Indian lands" used interchangeably with Indian country. In Indian country, the federal government, rather than a state, has jurisdiction and authority to carry out federal law. In certain circumstances, tribes may receive authority to carry out federal laws. Additionally, tribes have inherent authority to carry out tribal laws in Indian country.

On December 11, 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), and North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) press release. The purpose of the MOA was to formally provide access for facilities on the reservation to the State underground storage tank (UST) Trust Fund for cleanup should a petroleum release occur on the reservation. The MOA also defined the roles that the three governmental entities will have regarding the regulation of USTs on the reservation.

Tribal Consultation:

Tribal Consultation is a process through which EPA interacts with tribes when EPA actions and decisions may affect tribal interests. As appropriate, it may be a one-time or ongoing dialogue. EPA's tribal consultation activities are guided by two separate authorities: Executive Order 13175 "Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments" (2000), and "EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes" (2011).

All EPA consultation (even consultation required under the Executive Order) is guided by the Consultation Policy. Consultation is triggered whenever an Agency decision, activity, or action "may affect tribal interests." As a process, consultation may include several methods of interaction that may occur at different levels and in different forms - anything from letters, phone calls and conference calls, to groups or individual meetings. The Consultation Policy is often supplemented by more detailed office or regional consultation plans.

To navigate the complexities of tribal consultation, each region and program office has a Tribal Consultation Advisor (TCA) to help you with any consultation questions.


For information concerning USTs in Indian country contact Mallory Miller at miller.mallory@epa.gov or call (404) 562-9483.

For information concerning all Tribal Programs in Region 4 contact Lisa Berrios at berrios.lisa@epa.gov or call (404) 562-8318.

To Tribal websites:

Compliance Assistance Program:

UST Compliance Assistance Handbook (PDF, 62 pp, 7.32MB)
Copies available upon request.

Tribal UST Compliance Assistance

UST Closure in Indian country:

For information about the contents of this page please contact Linda Williams

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