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EPA's New Tribal Strategy

September 2008

Citation: 38 ELR 10643

Issue: 9

Author: David F. Coursen

Editor's Summary: In 1984, EPA became the first federal agency to adopt an Indian policy. Congress subsequently affirmed the policy by authorizing the Agency to treat Indian tribes as states under the SDWA, the CWA, and the CAA. EPA's adoption of a common-law inherent authority test to determine jurisdiction under the statutes spawned a treat-as-states (TAS) process that requires a detailed review of factual information about each tribe. In this Article, David Coursen examines the complexity of EPA's jurisdictional analysis and evaluates whether EPA's new TAS strategy will ultimately be successful in addressing delays in these decisions.

David F. Coursen is an Attorney for the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The views expressed are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of EPA.

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