DoD created NALEMP to address environmental impacts on Indian lands from former DoD activities with maximum tribal participation, through Government-to-Government consultation. Impacts NALEMP helps address include:
• Hazardous Materials
• Munitions Debris
• Unsafe Buildings or Structures
• Lead-based Paint or Asbestos
• Abandoned Equipment
Native American Management System for Environmental Impacts (NAMSEI) is an online system that allows tribal leaders and the public to access, report, and share information on DoD-related issues of concern. It also tracks and maintains information on over 900 potential impacts to tribal lands and resources resulting from past DoD activities. NAMSEI provides a historical record of site assessment results, presents a forum to report new suspected impacts, and receives online comments about assessments and project updates.
For more information or assistance, visit www.namsei.com or call 1-888-623-8748 (Toll Free)
Past DoD operational and training activities may have had adverse effects on tribal environmental health and safety, economic, social, and cultural welfare. In recognition of the need to address tribal concerns in DoD environmental programs, Congress has, since 1993, provided funds annually to mitigate environmental impacts to Indian lands and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)-conveyed properties.
NALEMP is the DoD environmental program that uses site evaluation and assessment processes, consistent with national environmental regulatory requirements, while also considering other potential effects on tribal communities’ way of life.
NALEMP-eligible sites are screened to determine priority for cleanup action based on health, safety, and environmental criteria. NALEMP reviews life-ways issues, or impacts to traditional ways of life, including the ability of tribes to conduct subsistence activities or access sites for cultural or religious purposes. In addition, the Program considers economic issues such as whether access to natural resources for commercial use and/or land for development is affected. NALEMP also reviews impacts to tribal programs and opportunities to leverage other federal or state agency support for cleanup action.
Most impacts from past DoD activities are addressed through the Formerly Used Defense Sites Program (FUDS), administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Many Indian land sites are in the FUDS inventory of projects, but are not scheduled to be addressed for an extended period of time. Because of this situation, Congress has expressed concern and has directed special funding to address impacts of significance to tribes.
A Potential mitigation project is eligible for NALEMP funding when all of the following criteria apply:
Eligible lands include:
DoD researches historic records, documents, and literature, and conducts interviews to evaluate all information about the reported impact. An onsite investigation occurs if additional information is needed. The reports are reviewed by all parties for accuracy and are entered into the NAMSEI system. NAMSEI helps track mitigation efforts and the exchange of information between the DoD and tribes.
All eligible sites are screened annually for available funding. When Congressional funding becomes available, DoD uses information in NAMSEI to decide which sites to prioritize for funding. DoD considers factors other than risk to human health and the environment for cleanup of sites on Indian lands, including impacts to traditional practices, subsistence lifestyles, and economic viability.
DoD works with tribes with selected projects on a government-to-government basis to determine how best to mitigate the environmental impact(s). Under NALMEP, DoD enters into Cooperative Agreements with tribal governments to address problems attributable to past DoD activities. These agreements incorporate “traditional ecological knowledge” into the design for cleanup, involve the tribe in project decision making, and develop tribal capacity regarding environmental services and technical remediation skills. DoD has executed 235 Cooperative Agreements with over 54 tribal nations at a total funding level of over $90 million.
If the site is ineligible for NALMEP funding, DoD assists the tribe to identify other appropriate resources to help address the reported impact(s). Other potential funding sources may include other DoD, federal agency, or state environmental programs.
Profiles of Successful DoD-Tribal Partnerships
NATIVE VILLAGE OF BARROW: ELSON LAGOON AND “VALLEY OF 10,000 DRUMS”
During World War II (WWII), Elson Lagoon in Barrow, Alaska became the staging area for the Naval Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPRA) initiative, introducing large numbers of personnel, equipment, and supplies to the region. Severe storms hit the area in 1963, after jurisdiction of the site was returned to the U.S. Navy, washing tens of thousands of drums and debris into the lagoon, hampering marine traffic and the subsistence activities of Native Village of Barrow (NVB) hunters and fishermen. In 1998, the Department of Defense (DoD) determined it was responsible for the debris remaining in the lagoon. The Native Village of Barrow became a partner tribe in the Department of Defense-sponsored Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP) in 1999 when the Tribe signed its first Cooperative Agreement (CA).
More Profiles of Successful DoD Partnerships with: