The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has adopted a Tribal Policy Statement to “promote effective government-to-government interactions with American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes, and to encourage and facilitate Tribal involvement in the areas over which the Commission has jurisdiction.” 82 Fed. Reg. 2402 (Jan. 9, 2017), available at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-01-09/pdf/2017-00091.pdf.
The Policy Statement includes the following six principles:
1) The NRC Recognizes the Federal Trust Relationship With and Will Uphold Its Trust Responsibility to Indian Tribes
2) The NRC Recognizes and Is Committed to a Government-to-Government Relationship With Indian Tribes
3) The NRC Will Conduct Outreach to Indian Tribes
4) The NRC Will Engage in Timely Consultation
5) The NRC Will Coordinate With Other Federal Agencies
6) The NRC Will Encourage Participation by State-Recognized Tribes
The NRC is an independent federal regulatory agency with jurisdiction over activities involving uranium recovery, commercial nuclear power, and nuclear waste transportation, disposal, and storage. As an independent agency, it is not covered by certain executive orders, including EO 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.” The FEDERAL REGISTER notice provides extensive information regarding the lengthy process that the NRC carried out in adopting the Tribal Policy Statement. Prior to its adoption, the NRC had not formalized an agency-wide policy regarding tribes. Rather, its interactions with tribal governments had been conducted on a case-by-case basis. As recounted in the FEDERAL REGISTER notice, NRC staff had recommended against adopting a formal policy, preferring to continue conducting relations with tribes case-by-case. The Commission, however, declined to accept that advice and, in May 2012, decided to proceed with development of a formal policy.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the NRC Tribal Policy Statement.
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