Direct Implementation Tribal Cooperative Agreements (DITCAs)
Since 2001, Congress has approved authority for EPA to award Direct Implementation Tribal Cooperative Agreements (DITCAs) to federally-recognized tribes and eligible intertribal consortia to carry out agreed-upon activities and to assist EPA with the implementation of federal environmental programs for Indian tribes in the absence of an acceptable tribal program.
EPA believes that the DITCA authority offers an important alternative for tribes who wish to work with EPA to implement environmental programs for Indian tribes. While EPA retains final decision-making authority and ultimate responsibility for the environmental programs implemented with DITCAs (including all regulatory activities), this funding mechanism allows tribes to be involved to varying degrees in assisting EPA to implement the federal program depending upon a tribe's interest and ability in carrying out specific work.
EPA originally proposed this authority in response to specific requests from both tribes and EPA's Tribal Caucus of the Tribal Operations Committee (TOC) to develop additional approaches to environmental management. DITCAs are intended to provide tribes and EPA with an approach to supplement the federal authorization to operate a program method (also referred to as "treatment in a manner similar to states" or "TAS") of environmental management. While some tribes are legally and administratively capable of assuming the full scope of federal program responsibilities immediately under the TAS process, many tribes are not for a variety of reasons, including tribal priorities, limited resources, concern over jurisdictional issues, and/or limited size. It was generally agreed upon that for some tribes, a more flexible approach responsive to the differences between various tribes and their environments would be advantageous to have available.