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Characteristics of An Effective Tribal Environmental Regulatory Program; the Perspective of the Regulated Community

Larry P. Ausherman, Mineral Development On Indian Lands (1989)

This paper presents five suggestions for shaping an effective program for tribal environmental regulation. Although the suggestions are made from the perspective of one who has represented the regulated community1 and not tribes, the suggestions are not intended to benefit only those whom tribes regulate.2 Tribes may take these suggestions into account in developing or expanding environmental regulation. Industry should consider the issues raised in the discussion of these suggestions in the context of potentially applicable tribal law, before making substantial investment on tribal lands. An effective environmental program both accomplishes tribal environmental goals and allows goals of economic development.

Regulation of industry3 is only a limited component of tribal environmental regulation. Although this paper suggests an industry perspective on tribal environmental regulation, the most fundamental concerns of a tribal environmental program are typically neither appeasement of industry nor encouragement of economic development. Rather, elemental tribal environmental [18-2] priorities may emphasize public health issues such as protecting water supplies and disposing of and managing wastes for those living on the reservation.4 The effect of many of these important regulations on non-tribal members simply seeking to do business on the reservation is incidental, alth