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The Navajo Environmental Protection Commission was established in 1972.Navajo Basket

 

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