News Releases from HeadquartersInternational and Tribal Affairs (OITA)

The engagement period will allow affected federally recognized Tribes to provide input on a previous EPA decision defining the scope of the State of Oklahoma’s environmental regulatory authority

06/30/2021

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2021) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan sent letters to the leaders of the 38 Oklahoma Tribal nations, informing them of an upcoming consultation and coordination process with EPA.

“We take seriously the concerns of our sovereign Tribal partners with EPA’s previous decision and the consultation process used in reaching that decision,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I have had the honor of speaking with many Oklahoma Tribal leaders already, as part of my broader commitment to robust consultation on policy deliberations that affect Tribal nations. Today, we are initiating consultation to better understand their concerns and the potential implications of EPA’s previous decision.” 

The consultation period will take place between July 15 and October 13 and allow for meaningful input from Tribes on the State of Oklahoma’s July 22, 2020 request to administer its environmental regulatory programs in certain areas of Indian country within the State. This request was made under Section 10211(a) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 (SAFETEA) and resulted in an October 1, 2020 EPA decision granting the State’s request.  

While EPA previously consulted with Oklahoma Tribal nations upon receipt of the State’s request last year, the consultation and coordination period lasted less than a month, and multiple requests by Tribal nations for government-to-government consultation were not accepted during the previous administration. At the request of Tribes, a renewed consultation and coordination effort and a thorough review of comments received will inform how EPA can best respect Tribal sovereignty and protect human health and the environment within Indian country in Oklahoma.

This action reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Tribes and the promise to engage in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of federal policies that impact Tribal nations. 

For more information on EPA’s Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes visit: https://www.epa.gov/tribal/epa-policy-consultation-and-coordination-indian-tribes.

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