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On November 5, 2009, President Obama signed a Memorandum on Tribal Consultation (PDF) (2 pp, 23K, About PDF), directing each executive department to develop a detailed plan of action to implement Executive Order 13175 (PDF) (4 pp, 144K), Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Plan of Action outlines the actions it plans to take in developing the EPA Consultation and Coordination Policy.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) was one of the first federal agencies with a formal policy specifying how it would interact with tribal governments and consider tribal interests in carrying out its programs to protect human health and the environment. Signed in 1984, this EPA Policy for the Administration of Environmental Programs on Indian Reservations (1984 Policy) (PDF) (4 pp, 213K) remains the cornerstone for EPA’s Indian program.

In an effort to enhance the consultation portions of the 1984 Policy, implement consistently Executive Order 13175 (PDF) (4 pp, 144K) (Executive Order), comply with President Barack Obama’s November 5, 2009 Memorandum on Tribal Consultation (Presidential Memorandum (PDF) (2 pp, 23K)), and after consultation with tribes, EPA submits this Plan of Action (the Plan) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and to federally-recognized Tribes as its first step in developing an enhanced Tribal Consultation and Coordination Policy (Policy or Consultation Policy).

Within EPA, the American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO) coordinates the EPA effort to improve public health and environmental protection in Indian country, with a special emphasis on helping tribes administer their own environmental programs.

On May 4, 2011, Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the release of the EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes (PDF) (10 pp, 213K). The Policy is a result of the Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation issued November 5, 2009, directing agencies to develop a plan to implement fully Executive Order 13175.

The Policy establishes clear EPA standards for the consultation process, including defining the what, when, and how of consultation; designates specific EPA personnel responsible for serving as consultation points of contact in order to promote consistency in, and coordination of, the consultation process; and establishes a management oversight and reporting structure that will ensure accountability and transparency. The Policy sets a broad standard for when EPA should consider consulting with federally-recognized tribal governments based upon Executive Order 13175 and the principles expressed in the 1984 EPA Policy for the Administration of Environmental Programs on Indian Reservations (1984 Policy).

The 1984 Policy remains the cornerstone for EPA’s Indian program and assure[s] that tribal concerns and interests are considered whenever EPA’s actions and/or decisions may affect tribes.

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