New E.P.A Policy is Pro-Indigenous Communities [%new%]
News Credit- Shraddha Chaudhary, III Year, B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
The Environmental Protection Agency on July 25th, 2014, came up with a new policy which seeks to integrate the working of the agency better with the interests of indigenous tribes which are federally recognised.
Tribes tend to be uniquely impacted by changes to the environment, since they are a lot more dependant individually on environmental resources and also derive their collective identity and culture from their environment. It is very common, therefore, for tribes to be ferociously territorial and protective of their habitat.
The new policy, recognising this, affirms the Agency’s commitment to providing all federally recognised indigenous tribes, fair treatment and meaningful involvement in the EPA’s decisions which might affect their health or culture. The policy reaches all areas of the United States and its territories and possessions, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, and others living in Indian country.
The policy aims at developing processes of consultation and engagement with tribal communities, developing intergovernmental cooperation and collaboration in order to increase efficiency and understanding, develop working definitions human health and environment that would be relevant to all stakeholders, and most importantly, develop a system of growth that is inclusive and sustainable. Further, the policy defines, in great detail, certain important terms, such as ‘environmental justice’, ‘fair treatment’, ‘meaningful involvement’, ‘indigenous people’, and so on.
A policy such as this is very heartening and signifies a positive step towards inclusive environmental growth which is one of the basic aims of environmental law.
 Press Release, EPA Issues Policy Supporting Tribal and Indigenous Communities, Newsrelease Headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (July 25th, 2014) available at http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/bd4379a92ceceeac8525735900400c27/e33cb0338406fa5885257d2000445f02!OpenDocument.
 EPA Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples available at http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/policy/indigenous/ej-indigenous-policy.pdf.