Date of Degree

6-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Christopher Schmidt

Subject Categories

Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Studies | Natural Resources Management and Policy

Keywords

Environmental justice, CERCLA, Superfund, Native American Studies, Onondaga, Quapaw

Abstract

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program mandates that Native American tribes are afforded the same treatment as states in the implementation of environmental remediation projects; however, the degree of coordination and consultation between the EPA and sovereign tribal governments varies widely between sites. Two of the Superfund program’s highest profile sites with Native American interest, northeast Oklahoma’s Tar Creek and central New York’s Onondaga Lake, are characterized by such a disparity in tribal participation. While Oklahoma’s Quapaw Tribe would ultimately enter into a number of cooperative agreements with the EPA for direct control over remedial projects, New York’s Onondaga Nation were largely ignored throughout the Superfund process, and attempted to force their way to the table in federal court. This research addresses whether the EPA’s statutory reforms intended to increase tribal participation and coordination have achieved their aim, as well as whether providing direct tribal control over Superfund site remediation is an opportunity for alternative ecological and decolonial approaches to environmental remediation and environmental justice within the EPA.

Share

COinS