The Navajo Environmental Protection Commission was established in 1972.
The Navajo Environmental Protection Commission was established in 1972 and it was in the Natural Resources Department. The objective of the commission was to review and approve leases for resources extraction with the Navajo Tribal Council. At the time, these resources included oil, gas, uranium, copper and coal. Resources were abundant and the Navajo tribal government's mission was to extract resources for revenue pursued a robust extraction mission to add revenue to its financial base.
In 1995, Navajo Nation Council approved legislation for the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency to become a regulatory agency charged with 11protection of human health and the environment". The legislation also transferred the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency to the Executive Branch so it was no longer under the Natural Resources Division.
Simultaneously in April1995, the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution approving the adoption of the Navajo Nation Environmental Policy Act. This Act provided guidance for NNEP A on the protection of air, water and land resources and the recognition that a clean environment contributes to maintaining harmony and balance on the Navajo Nation.
Since the 1990s, NNEPA departments and programs have worked diligently to seek authorities which enhanced more and more responsibilities to protect air, water and land resource of the Navajo Nation. The following represent a series of monumental progress by department and programs:
- Treatment as State by Public Water Systems Supervision Program for Safe DrinkingWater Act, August 1991
- Attained Section 106 Treatment as State for Clean Water Act, June 1993
- Attained Treatment as State for Safe Drinking Water Act by UIC, September 1994
- Attained Section 319 Treatment as State by Clean Water Act, October 1999
- Attained Primacy by Public Water System Supervision Program, December 2000
- Attained Title V Permitting for Clean Air Act, October 2004
- Attained Sub Section 303/401 Treatment as State for Clean Water Act, January 2006
- Attained Class II Primacy for Safe Drinking Water Act by UIC, October, 2008
- Approval for development of Uranium Policy Commission, 2015
The Navajo Nation EPA - Administration Department handles all NNEPA matters than then some. The entire NNEPA exist with the leader of the division, Dr. Donald Benn, Executive Director of NNEPA. Many issues surround Navajoland day in and day out, NNEPA Administration have staff who are devoted to the intent to do what is right for the Navajo people and the environment.
From the time of emergence, our Diyin Dine' entrusted us with preserving the pristine quality of the environment on our sacred lands. This meant that we were entrusted with maintaining harmony and balance with all living beings, as well as the environment we dwell in. It is through this balance that, we, as Dine' people, have our own sense of wholeness and we can promote a state of harmony.
We are the children of Mother Earth, a Nation independent within the four sacred mountains. Each of us is anchored by kinship, traditional teachings and the natural laws.
We, the staff of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, understand and embrace the task of protecting our Dine' land, water and air within our sacred mountains, to ensure that all living beings live in balance, harmony and Hozhoogo nasha – I am happy as I walk, or I am happy as I am…change it to: I walk in beauty'.
The Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency is committed to protecting Mother Earth and Father Sky and all living beings through environmental laws and regulations by honoring traditional dine' teachings and culture.
Restoring harmony and a sustainable environment among all living things.
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