This page brings together the most recent information and resources related to environmental issues in Indian country. Topics covered include federal policy updates, conferences, new compliance and technical assistance tools, and financial resources. Information here consolidates the work of the headquarters and ten regional offices. To add your material to the Tribal Compliance Assistance Center, please Contact Us.
- Freshwater Spills Symposium 2009
- A Guide to Hazardous Waste Management at Tribal Health Care Clinics
- Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention in Indian Country
- Underground Storage Tank Indian Country Program Directory
- Principles of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in Indian Country
- EPA Approves Water Quality Standards for the Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community
- New One-Stop Shopping? Web Site for Tribes in Search of Clean Water Act Training
- National Indian Country Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Priority
- Compliance Assistance for Tribal Schools
- Building & Buying Green in Indian Country
- Building Green Sustainable & Innovative Design
- Cleanup News
- Tribal Outreach Program
- Tribal Pollution Prevention
EPA's Office of Emergency Management Regulatory and Policy Development Division is trying to develop a tribal issues session for Freshwater Spills Symposium 2009 on April 28-30, 2009. Please contact Nick Nichols at 202-564-1970 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an oil related concern, case study, research project, etc. you would like to present for this meeting. The Symposium is aimed at local, tribal, state, federal, and industry responders, natural resource trustees and managers, facility response planners, and other stakeholders to promote sharing of information to better understand the challenges posed by oil spills in freshwater environments.
Health care facilities generate a wide variety of wastes. Some of these wastes are regulated as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA's new guide (PDF) (16 pp, 1.7M, About PDF) provides easy-to-understand information on what is and is not a hazardous waste and how to ensure safe storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) chemical accident prevention provisions in section 112(r) require facilities to provide information on the presence of hazardous chemicals in communities. These laws have built better relationships among government at all levels, business and community leaders, environmental and other public-interest organizations, and individual citizens. EPA's new fact sheet (PDF) (6 pp, 68K, About PDF) is designed to familiarize Tribal leaders with EPCRA and CAA section 112(r) Risk Management Program requirements and how the information gathered under these laws can enhance Tribal chemical accident prevention, preparedness and response activities.
The first "Underground Storage Tank Indian Country Program Directory" has been finalized and is now available on the Office of Underground Storage Tank's web site. The Directory provides information about Washington and Regional EPA UST tribal contacts, tribal UST/LUST program contacts, other tribal UST technical assistance contacts, and tribal contacts with federal UST inspector credentials.
The Principles of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in Indian Country (PDF) (19 pp, 630.56K, About PDF) is a training course specifically designed for tribal environmental professionals with an interest in developing an enforcement and compliance program under either tribal inherent authority or in anticipation of seeking “treatment in the same manner as a state” from EPA to implement a federal environmental program. The course describe the 10 principles which are inherent in any successful compliance and enforcement program regardless of a tribe's size, location, or governmental structure. The course was presented the 8th National Tribal Conference on Environmental Management in Billings, Montana (June 2008) and the 16th Annual Region 9 Tribal EPA Conference in San Francisco, California (October 2008).
On 8/15/08, EPA approved water quality standards for the Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community located in California, near the City of Bishop. EPA's action culminates a two-step process that began with EPA's finding that the Tribe was eligible to be treated in the same manner as a state (TAS) for administering a water quality standards program. The second step was approval of the Tribe's water quality standards and ensures that all surface waters within the exterior boundaries of the Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community are covered by standards under Section 303 (c) of the Clean Water Act, including designated uses and water quality criteria. The Tribe's standards can now form the basis for federally-enforceable regulatory requirements.
EPA provides technical assistance to tribes to develop and implement water quality standards and to manage other water quality programs. Including the Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community, there are now 34 tribes across the U.S. with water quality standards effective under the Clean Water Act. For more information, please visit EPA's Indian Tribal Approvals Web Site.
EPA has launched Clean Water Act Tribal Training. This new web site contains all of the EPA-sponsored Clean Water Act (CWA) training courses available to Indian tribes. The new web site is the culmination of a larger EPA effort to provide more structured, consolidated training to assist Tribes in implementing programs under the CWA. The web site contains listings of face-to-face training courses offered by EPA's Office of Water, links to self-paced training for CWA programs, links to relevant training courses offered by other EPA program offices (both face-to-face and self-paced), as well as links to other important resources and tools. EPA is working with Indian tribes to identify future training needs for CWA programs.
The National Indian Country Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Priority's goal is to significantly improve human health and environmental protection in Indian country by focusing national attention on key compliance assurance and enforcement activities. To that end, EPA is intensifying scrutiny of three compliance and enforcement issues affecting Indian country: drinking water systems, illegal dumping and solid waste management, and schools. EPA began engaging these three areas in FY 2005 and plans to continue this work through FY 2010.
EPA is assisting BIA and tribal schools understand and address environmental issues including asbestos, lead in paint and drinking water, pesticides, laboratory chemicals, and poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The information is available in a bound notebook, a CD-ROM, and on the Internet. The materials are available on EPA's Region 10 Tribal Schools Compliance Assistance Notebook Web site.
Building and Buying Green in Indian Country: A Practical Guide for California Tribes (PDF) (157 pp, 8.6MB, About PDF) prepared for The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CAIWMB), provides basic information about sustainable building practices, considerations, and planning for building projects in Indian Country. This Guide is intended to:
- Give Tribal project decision makers and planners an overview of sustainable and "green" building practices and options.
- Serve as a tool to support those decision makers and planners in evaluating and choosing sustainable options as they develop projects with architects, contractors, suppliers, or other building professionals
(HUD) have been working on the development of green building training for Tribes. In July of this year, the Group presented their pilot training, "Building Green Sustainable & Innovative Design" (PDF) (31 pp, 1.1MB, About PDF).
In addition, the Group conducted assessments at six Pacific Northwest tribes (Nooksack, Umatilla, Squaxin Island, Grande Ronde, Yakama and Upper Skagit), combined with information gathered at the HUD ONAP Building Green: Sustainable & Innovative Design Workshop, in July of 2006 at the Squaxin Island Tribe's Little Creek Casino in Shelton, WA. The "Building Green: Sustainable & Innovative Design Tribes of Northwest Assessment Overview" (PDF) (14 pp, 1.2MB, About PDF) documents innovations perceived as significant and interesting, specifically related to the emerging issues of "green" and sustainable design strategies and construction techniques.
CleanupNews brings you the latest news about Superfund cleanups, RCRA corrective actions, and other remedial efforts related to underground storage tanks and oil spills. CleanupNews is a monthly newsletter highlighting hazardous waste cleanup cases, policies, settlements and technologies.
Current and past issues of CleanupNews can be accessed on EPA's CleanupNews web site.
- EPA Scores Victory as Vertac Decision Affirmed
- Community Celebrates Construction Completion at Torch Lake Site
- EPA Completes Soil Cleanup at Somers Plating Site
- Oak Ridge Stewardship Committee Recognized for Community Outreach
- Rocky Mountain Arsenal's Internal Parcel Deleted from NPL
EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response has created a new Web site to improve outreach, consultation, and communication efforts with Tribes by providing relevant information about our programs and current efforts. Go to EPA's OSWER Tribal Programs.
In May 2006, Charles J. Lippert, Air Quality Technician of the Dept. of Natural Resources & Environment, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, presented "Mille Lacs Tribal P2: Action to Reduce and Eliminate Mercury in Tribal Life of the Misi-zaaga'igani Anishinaabeg (PDF) (16 pp, 870 K, About PDF)." In this presentation, Charles discusses the extent of mercury contamination, multi-media and cross-regional approaches to mercury reduction, ongoing projects aimed at reduction, as well as steps for the future.
For related information visit EPA’s National Indian Country Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Priority site and EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program in Indian country site.