WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has formed a new tribal committee to provide tribes with an opportunity for greater input on issues related to toxic chemicals and pollution prevention. The move is part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priority to build strong tribal partnerships and expand the conversation on environmental justice.
EPA is establishing a National Tribal Toxics Committee (NTTC) that will give tribes a forum for providing advice on the development of EPA’s chemical management and pollution prevention programs that affect tribes. Given the uniqueness of tribal cultures, communities and environmental problems, the forum will help EPA better tailor and more efficiently address a variety of issues, including preventing poisoning from lead paint, expanding pollution prevention and safer chemical initiatives in Indian country, and better evaluating unique chemical exposures on tribal lands.
“This new committee will help increase our already close collaboration and communication with federally recognized tribes and intertribal organizations on critical issues relating to chemical safety and pollution prevention that affect Native peoples,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We are committed to reducing toxic exposures and increasing pollution prevention among tribal communities, and to respecting tribal sovereignty, culture and heritage.”
A charter for the new NTTC is being developed and the membership of the council will be formed over the next several months. The first meeting of the NTTC will be held in the spring of 2011.