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EPA and Indian Reservations: Justice Stevens' Factual Approach

October 1990

Citation: ELR 10429

Author: Peter W. Sly

Editors' Summary: Of cultural and environmental significance, Indian reservations present unique jurisdictional problems. This Article explores the implications of two Supreme Court cases—one on zoning authority and one on criminal jurisdiction—for EPA's implementation of environmental statutes on reservations. After discussing two doctrines of Indian law and the two cases, the author focuses on Justice Stevens' opinion in Brendale v. Yakima Indian Nation and proposes that EPA should modify its Indian policy by applying Stevens' approach to resolving jurisdictional issues on reservations. The result, he argues, will be better environmental management of tribal lands.

Peter Sly is an attorney in Oakland, California. Mr. Sly was Director of the Conference of Western Attorneys General from 1985-88 and is the author of RESERVED WATER RIGHTS SETTLEMENT MANUAL (Island Press, 1988).

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