In 1984, EPA developed an “Indian Lands” policy to implement federal environmental statutes on American Indian reservations that was signed by EPA Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus. In 1991, EPA Administrator William B. Reilly amended the policy by adding a state/tribal concept on cooperative jurisdiction. In 1994, EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner reaffirmed the 1984 EPA Indian Policy through a nine-point memorandum that outlined specific actions EPA would undertake to more effectively implement environmental protection on American Indian reservations. As part of the reaffirmation effort, a new American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO) was created within EPA’s Office of Water to lead the implementation of the Indian Lands policy.
EPA also created the National Tribal Operations Committee (NTOC) to more effectively implement the Agency’s Indian Policy. The NTOC is currently composed of EPA’s Senior Leadership Team (Administrator, Assistant and Regional Administrators) and nineteen tribal representatives from the nine EPA regions where federally recognized tribal governments are located. EPA Region 10 has four representatives to the NTOC, two from Alaska and two representatives from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington Tribes.
EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner convened the first NTOC meeting on February 17, 1994. At this first meeting the NTOC Tribal Caucus presented three recommendations: 1) reaffirm the 1984 Indian Policy and the EPA state/tribal concept paper on jurisdiction; 2) establish a National EPA Indian Environmental Office; and 3) increase funding for tribal environmental programs. EPA has since accomplished all three recommendations.
The NTOC also identified the need for Regional Tribal Operations Committees (RTOC) to be established in each of the nine EPA regions with federally recognized Tribes. In the spring of 1996, Region 10’s Office of Tribal Operations (now the Office of Ecosystems, Tribal & Public Affairs) solicited nominations for Region 10 RTOC membership. Region 10 RTOC members (one tribal representative per state) were then selected by ballot. The first RTOC meeting took place at Fort Hall, Idaho, on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation. The need for a RTOC charter was identified at this meeting and drafts were developed for adoption. The charter was officially adopted by the RTOC in spring of 2000 after an extensive tribal review process.
As stated in the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Tribal Operations Committee Final RTOC Charter – March 2015 (Amendment 5)
Region 10 RTOC Chair
Curyung Tribal Council
Dillingham, AK 99576
Phone: (907) 842-2384
Fax. (907) 842-4510
RTOC R10 Communications Specialist