OLEM's Tribal Program Accomplishments and Reports

The Office of Land and Emergency Management's (OLEM) tribal program reports are a compilation of the accomplishments that detail efforts and activities conducted in support of the Tribal Strategy during the fiscal year. In addition to highlighting program-specific accomplishments, the reports provide information and successes related to special initiatives.

EPA seeks to forge strong partnerships and build tribal capacity in assuming program management responsibilities for the cleanup and reuse of land. OLEM works in partnership with tribes as co-regulators to address solid and hazardous waste, emergency response actions, as well as land restoration and cleanup issues in Indian Country.

OLEM's tribal program accomplishments for fiscal year 2015 are below:

  • Released FED Facts: This Federal Electronic Docket Facilities website contains cleanup status information related to federal facilities on EPA's Federal Agency Hazardous Waste Compliance Docket. It incorporates a tribal overlay that allows viewers to see where tribal lands are located in relation to the federal facilities listed on the docket.

  • Supported Infrastructure Task Force  Waste Program Sub-Workgroups:  Working with the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and the Interior, three teams comprised of federal and tribal participants, analyzed and began to prepare deliverables on three focus areas:  1) barriers to implementation and development of sustainable waste management programs; 2) a community engagement strategy; and 3) open dump inventory, health assessment methodology and data need.

  • Initiated the Operation Safe Delivery Exercise Series: Approximately 90 participants from federal, state, local and tribal governments, as well as private industry participated in an emergency response event that took place at the Blackfeet Tribal Nation. This exercise emphasized tribal community preparedness and resilience in the event of an incident involving highly volatile shale oil. 

  • Issued Downstream Notification Memo: To strengthen the notification process and tribal participation in spills or releases, EPA issued a memo requiring all Regional and Area Contingency Plans to include robust procedures for tribes downstream.

  • Administered a Spill of National Significance (SONS) Exercise with Tribes: For the first time, tribes participated in a multi-federal agency response drill that focused on a crude oil spill in the Columbia River as a result of an oil train derailment.  

  • Developed New Emergency Management Guidance: EPA developed a new Guidance for Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and Tribal Environmental Planning Committees to better understand tribal authorities and responsibilities, as well as ensure tribes meet their requirements for developing and implementing local emergency response plans.

  • Issued Updated Underground Storage Tank Regulations: EPA updated regulations to include federal underground storage tank (UST) requirements that are consistent with key portions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Owners and operators of USTs in Indian Country now must meet revised standards, including operator training requirements and secondary containment requirements for new and replaced tanks and piping.

  • Supported Tribal Brownfields Programs: EPA provided $13.5M to support tribal response programs; resulting in 191 jobs created, approximately $20.1M funds leveraged, 9 clean ups and 48 assessments completed in Indian Country in FY 2015. EPA also provided Targeted Brownfields Assessment assistance to 49 tribal communities in FY 2015. As a result, over 30 assessments have been completed and 14 assessments are currently underway.

  • Awarded Grant to Support Tribal Work: OLEM, in cooperation with EPA’s Office of Water awarded a new five-year cooperative agreement, totally $2.9M to ITEP to support the Tribal Waste and Response Assistance Program (TWRAP). ITEP continues to strengthen and expand its training, technical assistance, and resources to Native American tribes and Alaska Native Villages (NA/ANV) for subjects relating to solid and hazardous waste, resource conservation, brownfields, Superfund, underground storage tanks, emergency response, and water infrastructure. The program supports a national Steering Committee of Tribal Professionals, the Tribal Superfund Working Groups, as well as the Tribal Lands and Environment Forum, a key training event for tribal environmental professionals.

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