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State and Tribal Brownfields Response Programs

State Voluntary Cleanup Programs

State and tribal response programs continue to be at the forefront of Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, as both the public and private markets recognize the responsibilities and opportunities of these response programs in ensuring protective and sustainable cleanups. The increasing number of properties entering into voluntary response programs emphasizes the states' and tribes' growing role in Brownfields cleanup.

State Voluntary Agreements

State voluntary cleanup programs (VCP) memorandums of agreement (MOA) are agreements between EPA regional authorities and state environmental programs that promote the coordination and define general roles regarding the cleanup of sites. The agreement can further provide the public with the confidence that EPA and the state agency are working in a coordinated manner. Over time, the use of the MOA as a mechanism to strength EPA and state coordination at contaminated sites evolved.

Some MOAs and RCRA memoranda of understanding (MOUs) have included, among other things, a means to recognize the contribution VCPs or other State programs can make in addressing the cleanup and treatment storage and disposal (TSD) facilities and underground storage tanks regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and PCB contaminated sites subject to remediation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In 2002, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was amended by the Brownfields amendments that provides states and tribes that enter into MOAs with EPA are eligible for response program grants authorized by CERCLA Section 128(a)(1). The following is a current listing of those MOAs and MOUs.

Tribal Brownfields Programs

There are 561 federally recognized tribes within the United States. Each tribe is an independent, sovereign nation, responsible for setting standards, making environmental policy, and managing environmental programs for its people. While each tribe faces unique challenges, many share similar environmental legacies.

Environmental issues and responses in Indian country range from:
  • developing basic administrative infrastructure to passing new ordinances and laws;
  • controlling illegal open dumping to developing emergency response plans;
  • abating and removing leaking underground storage tanks to addressing methamphetamine response and cleanup; and
  • addressing air pollution to the cleanup and reuse of contaminated land.

EPA’s State and Tribal Brownfields Response Program funding, referred to as “Section 128(a)” funding after the section of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) that it falls under, provides resources to assist tribes in addressing these issues.