Tribal Policy Statement
The NRC consults with Federally-recognized Tribes on a case-by-case basis. Heightened interest in uranium recovery development and new nuclear reactor construction has resulted in a significant increase in the volume and complexity of consultations between the NRC and Tribal governments. In May 2012, the Commission directed the staff to develop a Tribal Policy Statement in Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) COMWDM-12-0001, "Tribal Consultation Policy Statement and Protocol." On December 1, 2014, the NRC published a proposed Tribal Policy Statement in the Federal Register and is seeking public comment.
2014 Tribal Policy Statement Federal Register Notice
Federal Register Notice and Public Comment Period
On December 1, 2014, the NRC published the proposed NRC Tribal Policy Statement in the Federal Register for public comment. The proposed Tribal Policy Statement establishes principles to be followed by the NRC to help ensure 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. The proposed NRC Tribal Policy Statement is centered on the following principles:
The NRC Recognizes the Federal Trust Relationship and Will Uphold its Trust Relationship with Indian Tribes.
The NRC Recognizes and Is Committed to a Government-to-Government Relationship with Indian Tribes.
The NRC Will Conduct Outreach to Indian Tribes.
The NRC Will Engage in Timely Consultation.
The NRC Will Coordinate with Other Federal Agencies.
The NRC Will Encourage Participation by State-Recognized Tribes.
Tribal governments and organizations, the public, and other interested parties were encouraged to submit comments during a 120-day comment period that ended April 1, 2015.
2012 Federal Register Notice and Public Comment Period
In October 2012, the NRC solicited suggestions for the Tribal Policy Statement along with comments on the NRC Tribal Protocol Manual. The Federal Register notice sought public feedback on the following questions:
- How can the NRC strengthen government-to-government relationships with Native American Tribes?
- What practices have the NRC or other Federal agencies employed that have been effective in identifying Tribal interests and resolving tribal concerns about proposed agency actions?
- Are there specific Tribal Policy Statements in other Federal agencies that could serve as a starting point for the NRC efforts?
- What unique Tribal issues should the NRC be aware of as a non-land holding, regulatory agency that issues licenses under the Atomic Energy Act?
Respondents were not limited to these questions and were encouraged to submit any information that would benefit the NRC in developing a Tribal Policy Statement. Tribal governments and organizations, the public, and other interested parties were encouraged to submit comments during a 180-day comment period that ended April 1, 2013.