United States
           Environmental Protection
EPA 305-K-99-006
March 2000
Working Effectively with
Indian Tribes
 A Practical Guide for EPA Employees


            "he mission of the United States Environmental
              Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human
         I   health and to safeguard the environment  air,
      water, and land  upon which life depends.
      Accomplishing this mission requires EPA to work with
      federally-recognized Indian tribes (tribes) which are
      the primary governments responsible for managing
      environmental programs in Indian country. EPA is
      committed to maintaining a government-to-government
      relationship with tribes and considering tribal interests
      jnd consulting tribes when making decisions that may
        feet them.
 Why are tribal issues important?
    Tribal sovereignty, the federal trust responsibility, federal Indian
    law, statutes, executive orders, treaty obligations, and reserved
rights (e.g. aboriginal hunting, fishing and gathering rights) establish
unique responsibilities for accomplishing EPA's mission in Indian
country. Each tribe exercises sovereignty over the land and people
within its jurisdiction, chooses its form of government, and
maintains all of the powers of a sovereign nation, except those
inconsistent with their status in the federal system and any
limitations imposed by Congress.

The President of the United States directed the EPA Administrator
and the other federal agency heads to operate within a government-
to-government relationship with tribes. EPA and other federal
agencies also have  a trust responsibility to tribes.

What policies guide EPA's
interaction with tribes?
    The federal trust responsibility arises from Indian treaties,
    statutes, executive orders, and the historical relations between
the United States and Indian tribes. There is a general component
and a specific component to the trust responsibility. The general
component of the trust responsibility informs federal policy and
provides that the federal government consult with and consider the
interests of tribes when taking actions that may affect tribes or their
resources. The specific component of the trust responsibility
ordinarily arises only from some formal action of the United States
such as a statute, treaty, or executive order.
Presidential memoranda and several executive orders provide
guidance to all federal agencies, including EPA, on consultation and
consideration of tribal interests. These include: 1) Presidential
Memorandum, Govemment-to-Government Relations with Native
American Tribal Governments (1994); 2) Executive Order 12898,
Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority
Populations and Low-Income Populations (1994);
3) Executive Order 13007, Sacred Sites (1996); and
4) Executive Order 13084, Consultation and
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (1998).
What is the EPA  Indian Policy?
In 1984, EPA became the first federal agency to adopt a
formal policy governing interactions with tribes. The
policy provides guidance to all EPA staff and managers
interacting with tribes and responding to environmental,
natural resource, and cultural issues in Indian country.
In 1994, EPA reaffirmed the policy and announced new
steps designed to strengthen EPA's tribal operations

The EPA Policy for the Administration of
Environmental Programs on Indian Reservations

1.  EPA stands ready to work directly with tribes on a
    one-to-one basis (the "government-to-government"
2.  EPA recognizes tribes as the primary parties for
    setting standards, making environmental policy
    decisions and managing programs for reservations,
    consistent with EPA standards and regulations.
3.  EPA takes affirmative steps to encourage and
    assist tribes in assuming regulatory and program
    management responsibilities for reservation lands.
4.  EPA takes appropriate steps to remove existing
    legal and procedural impediments to working
    directly and effectively with tribes on reservation programs.
5.  EPA, in keeping with the federal trust responsibility, will
    assure that tribal concerns and interests are considered
    whenever EPA's actions and/or decisions may affect
    reservation environments.
6.  EPA encourages cooperation between tribal, state, and
    local governments to resolve environmental problems of
    mutual concern.
7.  EPA works with other federal agencies which have related
    responsibilities on Indian reservations to enlist their
    interest and support in cooperative efforts to help tribes
    assume environmental program responsibilities for
8.  EPA strives to assure compliance with environmental
    statutes and regulations on Indian reservations.
9.  EPA incorporates these Indian policy goals into its
    planning and management activities, including its budget,
    operating guidance, legislative initiatives, management
    accountability system, and ongoing policy and regulation
    development processes.

The hallmark of EPA's relationship with tribes is formal consultation
and cooperation with elected tribal leaders before taking action that
may impact tribal interests.

Does my work affect tribal interests?
    Tribal interests are affected by almost every EPA activity. Tribes
    and Native Americans live and work throughout the United
States. Native Americans live in small towns, villages, big cities, on
reservations, and off reservations. All types of job and housing
opportunities exist in and around Indian country.

A clean and healthy environment is particularly important  to tribes
and Native Americans because of a traditional reliance on the land
and its resources for fishing, hunting, gathering, or other subsistence
uses and spiritual strength, such as performing ceremonies or sacred

Tribes operate environmental and natural resource agencies and
programs to protect and restore the quality of tribal health  and air,
water, land, and other natural resources. In addition, tribes may seek
EPA approval to implement federal environmental programs in
Indian country in the same manner as states. In either case, tribes
have primary responsibility for implementing environmental
programs, carrying out day-to-day activities such as issuing permits,
conducting compliance and enforcement programs, and monitoring
environmental conditions.

Tribes also provide a wide array of services to their populations.
These services include: pesticide management; construction and
maintenance of roads, bridges and buildings; public safety; public
education; solid waste management; wastewater collection  and
treatment; operation of public water systems; and parks.

Tribes and Native Americans also own, operate,  and/or manage a
wide range of businesses, farms, and industries.  The entire spectrum
of non-tribally owned or operated businesses, farms, and industries
also exist in and around Indian country. These operations affect the
environment and human  health of Native Americans.

One example of EPA work affecting tribal interests involves
CERCLA risk characterizations. Typical risk characterization
involves calculating the ecological and human health exposures
and probable toxicity. For tribal communities, however, EPA may
also need to assess whether tribal resources and cultures are at risk.
How can I work effectively with tribes
and Native American stakeholders?

      Reach Out Early And Often
      Ask Questions
      Think Dynamically

Tribal governments are the primary decision-makers for environmental
and human health issues affecting the people and land under
their jurisdiction, consistent with federal law. Where a tribe is
involved, consultation with the tribal government  not just tribal
members  is required.

Remember that Native Americans are generally interested in your
efforts to protect human health and the environment.

Reach out early and often to tribes and Native Americans.
The success of your work depends upon input and
dialogue. This takes time.

      Encourage participation by soliciting input from tribes
       and Native Americans as your work is developed,
       implemented, and concluded.
      Engage in a dialogue to ensure that tribal interests are
       heard and addressed.
      Ensure that tribal interests are considered in your
       day-to-day activities, including the drafting of
       regulations, policies, and other documents.

Ask questions.
      Learn about the tribe's governmental structure, community
       system, history, culture, land, and resources; and
      Understanding tribal issues and interests will help you
       ensure that EPA better addresses tribal needs and issues.


      Consultation and cooperation with the tribal government
       is necessary if your work may affect a tribe. A strong and
       effective tribal-EPA partnership is fundamental to the
       achievement of EPA's mission.

Think dynamically and take affirmative action to assist tribes.

      Provide financial assistance for capacity building;
      Provide compliance and technical assistance;
      Provide training opportunities;
      Assess environmental conditions in Indian country; and
      Target high priority facilities in Indian country for
       enforcement actions.
Who can give me information and
exchange ideas about tribal issues
and needs?

     Many people in EPA Headquarters and EPA Regions are
     knowledgeable about tribal issues. They can provide information
and advice about your work's potential implications for Indian country
and review and distribute your documents. Information is also available
from other federal agencies, tribes, tribal organizations, and academic


I The American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO) is
 responsible for coordinating EPA-wide efforts to
 strengthen public health and environmental protection
 in Indian country, with a special emphasis on building
 tribal capacity to administer their own environmental
 programs. http://www.epa.gov/indian/

I The Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforce,
 and Compliance Assurance has a tribal coordinator and
 tribal coordinating committee composed of peoplewom
 each office, http://es.epa.gov/oeca/tribal/

I All other Assistant Administrators have tribal

I Each EPA Region where federally-recognized tribes
 reside has a tribal coordinator or program manager.
 Some Regions also have Indian Program Offices. Thi
 are no federally-recognized  Indian tribes in EPA Region
 III. http://www.epa.gov/indian/map.htm

I The National Indian Workgroup (NIWG) works
 identify and resolve policy and programmatic ba
 working directly with tribes, implement comprehensi
 tribal environmental programs, identify priority tribal
 projects, and perform other services in support of
 implementing EPA's Indian Policy. The NIWG is
 comprised of all EPA tribal coordinators and program

I The Office of General Counsel and the Offices of
 Regional Counsel each  have attorneys who specialize in
 federal Indian law.

I The National Indian Law Work Group addresses legal
 issues that arise in the course of developing and
 implementing EPA's Indian program.

I The Tribal Operations Committee (TOO is comprised
 of nineteen tribal leaders and environmental program
 managers (the Tribal Caucus) and EPA's Senior
 Leadership Team, including the Administrator, the
 Deputy Administrator, and the Assistant and Regional
 Administrators. The TOC discusses implementation of
 environmental protection programs that EPA and the
 tribes share responsibility as co-regulators. The TOC is
 an important and effective vehicle for enhancing
 communications between EPA and tribes. Communication
 with the TOC is not a substitute for consultation with
 individual tribes on a government-to-govemment basis.
 You should discuss your issues with AIEO before
 contacting the TOC. http://www.epa.gov/indian/

I Regional Tribal Operations Committees (RTOQ exist
 in a number of Regions. RTOCs discuss implementation
 of Regional-tribal environmental protection programs.
 You should discuss your issues with a Regional tribal
 coordinator or program manager before contacting a RTOC.

I The Office of Environmental lustice supports the efforts
 of EPA to build tribal capacity and is EPA's lead office for
 working with non-federally recognized tribes and tribal
 grassroots organizations, http://es.epa.gov/oeca/oej/

I The Indigenous Peoples Subcommittee of EPA's
 National Environmental lustice Advisory Committee
 (NEJAQ provides advice to the NEJAC on environmental
 justice issues facing indigenous peoples, including
 Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives, tribal members,
 urban indigenous peoples,  non-federally recognized
 indigenous  communities, or indigenous communities
 across international boundaries, http://es.epa.gov/oeca/
 oej/nejac/American Indian

           .     .

  American Indian Environmental Office
      Tonya Fish             (202) 260-0769

  Office of Administration and Resource Management
      Michelle McClendon      (202) 564-5357

  Office of the Administrator
      Diane Bazzle            (202) 260-4057

  Office of Air and Radiation
      David Laroche           (202) 260-7652

  Office of the Chief Financial Officer
      Vivian Daub            (202) 564-6790
      Tonya Fish             (202) 564-5385

  Office of Communications, Education,  and Media Relations
      Doretta Reaves          (202) 260-3534

  Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
      Tom Dickerson          (202) 260-5417

  Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
      Ruth Miller             (202) 564-4299
      Jonathan Binder         (202)564-2516

  Office of Environmental Justice
      Danny Gogal            (202) 564-2576

  Office of General Counsel
      Jim Havard             (202) 564-6906

  Office of Policy, Center for Information and Statistics
      Wendy Cleland-Hamnet   (202) 260-4724

  Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances
      Caren Rothstein         (202) 260-0065

  Office of Research and Development
      Jason Edwards          (202) 564-6906

  Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
      Charlene Dunn          (202) 260-9466

  Office of Water
      Judy  Hecht             (202) 260-5682

Additional information is available in the Headquarters Telephone Directory (April, 1999).

EPA Tribal Coordinators and
Regional Program Managers

EPA Region I
Serving tribes located in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,
and Rhode Island
   Jim Sappier       617-918-1672

EPA Region II
Serving tribes located in New York
   Christine Yost     212-637-3564

EPA Region IV
Serving tribes located in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina,
and South Carolina
   Mark Robertson   404-562-9639
   h tt p: //www. epa. go v/region4/reg4 .html

EPA Region V
Serving tribes located in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin
   Casey Ambutas   312-353-1394

EPA Region VI
Serving tribes located in Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
   Ellen Greeney     214-665-6778
   h tt p: //w w w .epa .gov/earth 1 r6/6xa/ tribal/tribal .htm

EPA Region VII
Serving tribes located in Kansas and Nebraska
    Kim Olson        913-551-7539
    http: //w w w. epa. gov/rg ytgrnj/
EPA  Region VIII
Serving tribes located in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota,
South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming
    Sadie Hoskie      303-312-6343
EPA  Region IX
Serving tribes located in Arizona, California, and Nevada
    Clancy Tenley     415-744-1607
    http://www.epa.gov/region09/cross pr/indian/index.html
EPA Region X
Serving tribes located in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington
    Scott Sufficool    206-553-6220
    http://epainotes1 .rtpnc.epa.gov:7777/r10/tribal.NSF/
    webpage/tribal + office + homepage

    Alaska Field Office:
    Sandra Borbidge  907-271-3424
    Jean Gamache    907-271-3424
                     gamache .jean@epa .gov

Other Federal Contacts
White House Council on Environmental Quality
The Council on Environmental Quality is primarily responsible for
overseeing the implementation of the National Environmental Policy
Act and coordinating environmental issues affecting tribes and
Indian country within the federal executive branch.
White House Domestic Policy Council
The White House Domestic Policy Council uses a Working Group on
American Indians and Alaska Natives to coordinate within the federal
executive branch on issues affecting tribes and Indian country.

Department of Agriculture
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for many
programs that affect tribes, including agricultural assistance, loan
assistance, rural utilities, housing development issues, and the
management of certain federal lands in or near Indian country.

Department of Defense and Army Corps of Engineers
The Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for many facilities
located in or near Indian country. DoD manages a tribal grant
program for the mitigation of environmental impacts in Indian
country. The Army Corps of Engineers' activities also impact tribes,
including dam construction and the issuance of dredge and fill
permits for wetlands within tribal watersheds.
www. de fenselink. mil: 80/

Department of Health  and Human Services
Within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Indian
Health Service (IHS) is responsible for providing federal health

services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. IHS also maintains
special authority to work with tribes on landfills and waste water
and drinking water facilities. The Administration for Native
Americans (ANA) manages a grant program to improve tribal
capacity to regulate environmental quality.

Department of the  Interior
The Department of the Interior maintains significant responsibilities
relating to tribes and Indian country. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is
the lead within the federal executive branch on general tribal and
Indian issues. The Office of American Indian Trust is responsible for
overseeing the federal government's trust obligations. The Bureau of
Reclamation works with tribes of water resources management.
The federal land management agencies are responsible for issues
associated with certain federal lands in or near Indian country.

Department of Justice
The Department of Justice (DOJ) litigates on behalf of EPA and
another federal departments/agencies concerning Indian rights and
claims. DOJ can also bring enforcement actions against pollution
sources causing harm to tribal environmental resources. The Office
of Tribal Justice advises the Attorney General on matters that impact
tribes and works to coordinate DOJ's policies and positions on tribal
issues. The American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk, within
the Office of Justice Programs, enhances  access to information by
tribes regarding funding opportunities, training and technical
assistance, and other relevant information.

For additional copies or information, contact Jonathan Binder
in EPA's Office of Compliance at (202) 260-2516 or