History of the TPPC

U.S. EPA’s 1984 Indian Policy (recently affirmed by Administrator Lisa Jackson) is to encourage tribal self-determination and to Awork directly with Indian tribal Governments on a one-to-one basis. That policy was first implemented in the pesticide program area. U.S. EPA=s very first formal efforts in tribal environmental program development were in the development of tribal pesticide programs. In 1985-86, U.S. EPA authorized the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota to certify applicators of restricted use pesticides. This was the first formal authorization of a tribe to operate a program under a federal environmental statute. Thirty-two tribes are involved in Pesticide Enforcement Cooperative Agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency=s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA).
Tribes who had pesticide programs and concerns organized themselves and created the TPPC. A series of meetings took place, beginning in early 1997, involving tribal representatives and various officials of US EPA, with tribal representatives asserting that they needed a mechanism for direct input. Development of an overall policy framework for Tribal pesticide programs was underway, and participation of tribes in the development of that policy framework was needed. Tribes wanted a structure to get their concerns and priorities addressed. It was noted that the states have had such an entity for many years; that group (the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group B usually referred to as SFIREG) was structured to operate through state representatives for each EPA Region, and tribal participation in SFIREG had consistently proved to be scant and unsuitable. Tribes often had very different priorities and concerns, felt that participation in a state-focused group was inappropriate or uncomfortable, and wanted an entity of their own. US EPA Administrator Lynn Goldman committed to the establishment of a Tribal Pesticide group in September of 1997, if a survey of tribes indicated that they wanted such a group and could come together to present a plan for the role and structure of the group.
Tribes responded enthusiastically to the idea of forming their own group. A first planning meeting involving tribal representatives took place on January 27-28, 1998, in the Washington, D.C. area. A follow-up telephone conference call, again involving several tribal representatives, was held in January, 1998. Meetings were convened to develop a group in March, April and May of 1998.
On August 20-21, 1998, a meeting was held in Scottsdale, Arizona, to begin writing a plan for the role and structure of the group. There were 32 confirmed tribal representatives at that meeting. The representatives there included 20 tribes with pesticide programs, three tribes developing new programs, several tribes without programs, and two organizations (California Indian Basketweavers Association and the Intertribal Council of Arizona). The name, ATribal Pesticide Program Council@ was decided at that time. A committee was appointed to plan and draft the proposal for the TPPC and to submit it to U.S. EPA=s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) through the OPP Tribal Coordinator at that time, Elizabeth Resek. That tribal organizing committee met in the Washington, D.C. area on November 4-5, 1998, and participated in several telephone conference calls thereafter. Late on November 5, 1998, they contacted Native Ecology Initiative and requested pro bono assistance in preparing and finalizing the documents in support of the formation of the TPPC. That organizing committee later authorized Lillian A. Wilmore, the Executive Director of Native Ecology Initiative (NEI), by a signed fax, to serve as the Coordinator for the TPPC. Native Ecology Initiative received from the organizing committee a thick packet of materials including lists, notes of several planning meetings, a proposed budget, and an outline of the role and structure, which were then studied, discussed with the tribal planning group, compiled into a proposal, including a draft set of Rules and Procedures, and submitted to US EPA on June 2, 1999. NEI agreed to serve the TPPC for a maximum 15% indirect cost, with 85% of all funding received by the TPPC going to directly support the activities of the TPPC, and to provide twice a year detailed financial reporting to the TPPC. The cooperative agreement for the TPPC with U.S. EPA was first funded on September 13, 1999. To date the TPPC has had five full Council meetings, three in the D.C. area, one at Yakama Nation, and one at the Ak Chin Indian Community Resort. A sixth meeting is being planned for September 2002 at the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Silver Star Resort.