EPA talks up tribal relations

In a speech July 14 to the National Tribal Operations Committee, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson discussed the importance of creating stronger partnerships between the agency and tribal nations.

“Starting in January of this year, EPA began soliciting input from tribes in the process of developing a new and improved consultation policy, and we will continue to seek comments through the summer,” Jackson said.

She listed Recovery Act funding and wastewater projects as top achievements over the past year.

Jackson noted that EPA has relocated the American Indian Environmental Office and created the Office of International and Tribal Affairs.

In terms of President Barack Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, Jackson said it includes the most significant increase in 10 years to the Indian General Assistance Program.

Over 10 years ago, the EPA established the National Tribal Operations Committee, comprised of 19 tribal leaders and EPA’s senior leadership team to meet and discuss the best ways to implement the environmental protection programs for which EPA and the tribes share responsibility as co-regulators.

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