Document Type



In August of 1985, PCB Incorporated of Missouri approached the Campo Band of Mission Indians with a proposal to site a temporary polychlorinated biphenals (PCB's) storage facility on the Campo Indian Reservation in San Diego County, California. Approximately 132,000 pounds of PCB materials would be received daily and stored for up to one year at the storage site. The materials would be removed from temporary storage and shipped to a terminal disposal site for incineration or chemical detoxification.The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between tribal, state and federal governments with specific attention to the issue of hazardous waste. The authors of this report accepted the assignment in response to local (Campo Band) concerns on the part reservation residents. Much of the concern was centered around the issue of regulatory jurisdiction of facilities for storing PCB's that are situated on Indian trust land. State and local governments, off-reservation, tend to monitor and regulate toxic waste facilities in response to local constituent concerns. They may even impose stricter regulations and standards than those imposed by the federal government. Therefore, private companies sometimes tend to view the unique jurisdictional status of Indian trust lands as providing a means for establishing business sites which are out of reach of the state and county authorities.Since this particular report was principally designed to examine the issue of jurisdiction, the authors examined the legal precedents supporting tribal self-government on environmental issues. They also documented the response of several levels of non-tribal governments and agencies regarding their own jurisdictional responsibilities in this matter. Jurisdictional and regulatory issues were researched through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the LEXIS and NEXIS data base systems of Mead Data Central and consultations with Indian law attorneys. Technical considerations were established through interviews and a review of public law information provided by the EPA Region IX Office, and the School of Public Health at San Diego State University.A review of precedent cases in the state of Washington revealed a ruling in 1967 that prevented local county governments from exercising jurisdiction over reservation lands and the leasing of those lands for sanitary landfill. Also, in 1983 the EPA refused to allow the state of Washington to regulate hazardous waste activities on Indian lands. This ruling affirmed the Federal policy of encouraging tribal self-government, and of dealing with Indian tribes on a government to government basis. The result was that the U.S. Indian Health Service has no legal jurisdiction on Indian lands concerning the control of hazardous waste. The San Diego County Health Department has no jurisdiction either. The Issue of a PCB storage site must be resolved and regulated among the Campo Indians, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and PCB Inc., of Missouri. The EPA accepted the oversight responsibilities for the proposed Campo Reservation site and would visit and inspect the facility at least once a year. The EPA recognized the fact that these kinds of storage facilities are greatly needed, but they had some concerns about the Campo Tribe's ability to manage this specialized facility.Results indicate that the trust status of tribes may result in direct enforcement of the Toxic Substance Control Act by the Federal government through the EPA instead of delegated enforcement through the State's Department of Health Services. There would be no significant differences in technical requirements for design and operation, but sitting requirements might differ from requirements for similar off-reservation facilities.

Publication Date



Indian Health Service, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research, Rockville, MD 20857 (E-87).