EPA's Tribal Strategy | Region 10 | US EPA

Jump to main content.


EPA's Tribal Strategy


Strategic Plan for Tribal Programs
Introduction

EPA Region 10 is committed to protecting human health and the environment throughout the Region, including the lands and resources of Indian tribes, while supporting tribal self-government, fulfilling the federal trust responsibility, and strengthening the government-to-government relationship between the tribes of our Region and EPA. In general terms, this commitment is guided by EPA Region 10's responsibilities for environmental protection within Indian country and of tribal resources that are outside of Indian country (including treaty-protected usual & accustomed hunting and fishing areas and subsistence areas under state and federal jurisdiction). First, the Agency is responsible for direct implementation of environmental protection programs where EPA has not approved a tribe to run a federal program. Second, EPA has oversight responsibility both within and outside of Indian country concerning activities that affect tribal resources. Third, it is EPA’s policy to strengthen tribal governments’ management of environmental programs by assisting tribal governments to build the capacity to determine the future quality of their environment. EPA Region 10 recognizes that it has the discretion to decide how to administer those laws, and will consult with tribal governments as EPA implements federal environmental programs. The Region 10 Strategic Plan for Tribal Programs (hereinafter “Tribal Strategy”) was developed to address these responsibilities and provide a useful tool for measuring progress toward that end.

The Region 10 Tribal Strategy is comprised of two fundamental elements. First, the Tribal Strategy establishes the Region’s vision, mission and overarching Regional policy goals for environmental protection activities with tribes. Second, the Strategy calls for the development of specific office work plans (updated annually) that further implement the Regional policy goals and establish specific objectives and action items for Strategy implementation. Each office work plan shall incorporate all other agency tribal planning objectives and initiatives, where appropriate, including the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) targets and national office tribal strategies. The Region is committed to achieve all strategic goals and objectives established in each office work plan. Consistent with the time frame for EPA’s GPRA targets, the Region has established the year 2005 for full Tribal Strategy implementation. Both the strategy and office work plans are living documents. As a result, each document is subject to continued development and refinement as priorities and variables change.

Trust Responsibility

As part of the EPA’s direct federal implementation and oversight responsibilities, the EPA Region 10 has a trust responsibility to each of the 267 federally recognized Indian tribes within the Region. The trust responsibility stems from various legal authorities including the U.S. Constitution, Treaties, statutes, executive orders, and historical relations with Indian tribes. In general terms, the trust responsibility requires the Agency to consider the interest of tribes in planning and decision making processes. To accomplish this the President and Administrator have issued a number of specific directives to assist the Agency in meeting its trust responsibility to tribes. (See, 1984 EPA Indian Policy and Implementation Guidance; Administrator Browner’s March 1994 memorandum, “Actions for Strengthening Tribal Operations”; President Clinton’s April 29, 1994 memorandum, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments”; and Executive Order 13084, “Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments”.) In summary, each office is mandated to establish regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with Indian tribal governments in the development of Agency decisions. Moreover, on issues relating to tribal self-government, trust resources, or treaty and other rights, E.O. 13084 mandates each office to explore the use of consensus decision making mechanisms for developing regulations, including negotiated rule-making.

Government-to-Government Relationship

In fulfilling the Region’s trust responsibility and while considering the interest of tribes in all aspects of EPA’s work, each office must interact with tribes on a government-to-government basis consistent with the inherent sovereignty of each tribe. The concept of tribes as sovereign nations was written into the United States Constitution and has been affirmed by the Courts, Congress (through treaties and statutes), and the President, pursuant to Executive orders and other directives. As a result, EPA Region 10 will follow certain protocols in recognition of the government-to-government relationship. Although the Agency’s approach for maintaining a government-to-government relationship may vary from tribe to tribe, there are certain fundamental elements that will be used to guide the Region in working with tribes.

Following the principles of the government-to-government relationship, EPA Region 10 will endeavor to:

Vision

Region 10's vision is to fulfill EPA’s trust responsibility to each of the 267 regional Federally recognized Indian tribes by working with the tribes to protect human health and restore the environments of Indian tribes, both within Indian country and concerning tribal resources that are outside of Indian country (including usual & accustomed hunting and fishing areas and subsistence areas under state and federal jurisdiction).

Mission

The mission of the Region 10 Tribal Program is to protect and restore the lands and environmental resources of Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska for present and future generations.

Goals

1. Fully meet our responsibility for government-to-government relations with tribes in all aspects of the Region’s work.

2. Accomplish all direct implementation responsibilities, both within Indian country and concerning tribal resources that are outside of Indian country (including usual & accustomed hunting and fishing areas and subsistence areas under state and federal jurisdiction).

3. Provide full program delegation and capacity building opportunities for tribes.

4. Increase permanent resource commitments for tribal workload and strategy implementation.

5. Ensure our resources are used as efficiently as possible, our work is targeted to address the highest priority needs, and our organizational structure supports enhanced tribal activities.

Goal Implementation

Goal 1. Fully meet our responsibility for government-to-government relations with tribes in all aspects of the Region’s work


Goal 2. Accomplish all direct federal implementation, both within Indian country and concerning tribal resources that are outside of Indian country (including usual & accustomed hunting and fishing areas and subsistence areas under state and federal jurisdiction).


Goal 3. Provide full program approval and capacity building opportunities for tribes.

Goal 4. Increase permanent resource commitments for tribal workload and strategy implementation.


Goal 5. Ensure our resources are used as efficiently as possible, our work is targeted to address the highest priority needs, and our organizational structure supports enhanced tribal activities.

Local Navigation


URL: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/TRIBAL.NSF/Programs/EPA's+Tribal+Strategy

Jump to main content.