2008: Framework for Developing Tribal Capacity Needed in the Indian General Assistance Program

“The purpose of IGAP grants is to help tribes develop environmental programs, and over 70 percent of tribes have met at least one of EPA’s strategic goals for improving human health and the environment in Indian country. However, only 12 percent of tribes are implementing Federal environmental programs.
Many tribes have not developed long-term plans that describe how they will build environmental capacity to operate their environmental programs. For tribes that do have plans and long-term goals, EPA has not tracked progress against the plans and goals. Six of 27 reviewed tribes that have received funding for more than 5 years had activities limited to outreach, training, and meetings; how the activities will lead to implementing environmental programs is unclear. This situation has occurred because EPA has not provided a framework for tribes to follow or adapt as they develop their capacity to implement environmental programs. As a result, it is not clear whether IGAP funding will result in tribes being able to operate their own environmental programs. EPA has awarded $455 million in IGAP funds since 1992.

EPA often uses the target funding level of $110,000 as the basis for IGAP funding instead of considering environmental capacity needs and prior progress. EPA and tribes consider IGAP funding to be essential continuing support for tribal environmental programs. When the funding is not based on tribal capacity needs or priorities, EPA cannot demonstrate that the highest human health and environmental needs are addressed.”