In a landmark agreement, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) reached a “government-to-government” agreement with the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians to enforce some of the SCAQMD’s air quality regulations on tribal land.
The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, but does not have jurisdiction over tribal lands. Under the agreement announced yesterday, the tribe has voluntarily agreed to allow the SCAQMD inspectors to conduct air sampling, monitoring and inspection activities on the 640-acre Cabazon Resource Recovery Park industrial park near Mecca. It also requires facilities operating within the park, including Western Environmental Inc., to comply with applicable SCAQMD rules. The agreement will also allow the SCAQMD to enforce permits issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to facilities operating within the park.
While the agreement allows the SCAQMD to issue a violation notice, the Tribal Environmental Board (established to oversee environmental issues) will review it and approve, modify or reject it. However, a SCAQMD representative will be on the Tribal Environmental Board. Tribal Chairman, David Roosevelt, stated that this “agreement is the demonstration of our commitment to the community and environmental stewardship on sovereign lands.”