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Old 5th October 2020, 10:05 AM   #1
Captain_Swoop
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EPA Grants Oklahoma Control Over Tribal Lands

At the request of the Oklahoma Governor, the EPQ has granted the state regulatory control over environmental issues on nearly all tribal lands.

TYT has obtained a copy of the letter EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent to Gov. J. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) on October 1. The end of the opening paragraph states simply, “EPA hereby approves Oklahoma's request.”


https://tyt.com/stories/4vZLCHuQrYE4...YI4rljnOqxhUto
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Old 5th October 2020, 10:17 AM   #2
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Sure, take the mineral rights first, no one can put that on film. Wait until dark before bringing in the 7th for another valiant massacre.
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Old 5th October 2020, 10:33 AM   #3
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Who had control over those issues before? The tribes, I assume?

I guess the river flows both ways. The river flows through Oklahoma into tribal lands, bringing Oklahoma's environmental issues onto the tribal lands. Now the EPA says that when those issues hit tribal lands, the state government, not the tribe, has the authority and the responsibility to deal with it.

And the river flows from tribal lands into Oklahoma, bringing environmental issues originating on tribal lands back into Oklahoma. Now the EPA says that when the tribes cause environmental issues, the state, not the tribe, has the authority and the responsibility to deal with it.

Anyway, seems like it's probably going to be six of one versus half a dozen of the other, in terms of the larger environmental issues. I assume that on the specific pain points between the tribes and the state government, the EPA's decision must screw the tribes in some way. Otherwise it probably wouldn't be news.
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Old 5th October 2020, 11:04 AM   #4
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Some of environmental regulations are Federal laws that allow (or require) the EPA to delegate enforcement to the State Governments. Federal laws enforced by state governments.

Tribal governments are sovereign, or course. But Sovereignty is not a black or white thing, it comes in degrees. Tribes are generally sovereign roughly equal to state governments, but are less sovereign than the federal government. So Federal laws generally apply on reservation lands, but state laws often don't. This is because there have a variety of federal laws stripping this or that reservation of certain aspects of sovereignty, such that it can vary wildly from one reservation to the next.

In this case, the court seems to be ruling that the state can enforce this on reservation lands because the state is using federal authority - which it is.

That said, the feds might also be able to delegate the authority to the tribal governments instead; I would need to look back at the actual laws/U.S. Code to see.

One justification for stripping Tribes/Reservations of this or that aspect of their sovereignty is the idea that the tribes or reservations may be too small to have the funding or expertise to do this or that thing that is inherently governmental. That was the justification for applying California criminal jurisdiction over tribal lands in CA - too many very small tribes on very small reservations for each to have it's own criminal justice system, or even plice force.
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Old 5th October 2020, 01:25 PM   #5
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It's so they can dump **** on them
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Old 5th October 2020, 03:54 PM   #6
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This is likely just one small step in reconciling the court ruling earlier this year declaring that the US really does have to continue to uphold it's end of the original treaty granting most of Oklahoma to the Cherokee Nation as a reservation.

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2...-justice-there

A lot of white people spent not very much of money buying Indian land, thinking that as they were now the owners, it didn't count as reservation. Suddenly, they now realize that is really is, and don't quite know how local, state, and federal laws interact: How does the EPA (federal law administered by teh state) affect Native Reservation land (Subject to federal law, but separate from state), and does that need special dispensation when the Native Reservations don't have any apparatus setup for administering the federal law?
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Old 6th October 2020, 02:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GodMark2 View Post
This is likely just one small step in reconciling the court ruling earlier this year declaring that the US really does have to continue to uphold it's end of the original treaty granting most of Oklahoma to the Cherokee Nation as a reservation.
There are many more tribes in play here than the Cherokee, and as it happens McGirt v. Oklahoma was about lands (formerly?) belonging to the Creek Nation.
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Old 7th October 2020, 11:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
There are many more tribes in play here than the Cherokee, and as it happens McGirt v. Oklahoma was about lands (formerly?) belonging to the Creek Nation.
Yes, indeed. I didn't notice that the child neglect case involving the Cherokee father and children that the article opened up with wasn't the key case decided by the court, but rather was one of many cases affected by that decision (requiring reassignment away from state court).

I did not mean to imply that only one of the native nations would be impacted. This ruling likely impacts every reservation across the country, and all nations therein, in some way.
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Old 7th October 2020, 11:55 AM   #9
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It may have something to do with this:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/u...nd-ruling.html

The Supreme Court ruling recognizing the lands of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation was hailed as a historic win for tribes and their long struggle for sovereignty. On the ground, it has upended Oklahoma’s justice system, forcing lawyers and the police to rewrite the rules of whom they can and cannot prosecute inside the newly recognized borders of a reservation that stretches across 11 counties and includes Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city.

Prosecutors are giving police officers laminated index cards that spell out how to proceed depending on whether suspects and victims are “Indian” or “non-Indian.”

“It’s unprecedented,” said R. Trent Shores, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa.

Elected district attorneys handle most criminal cases in America, but they generally have little to no authority over tribal citizens for crimes committed on reservations. So now, from downtown Tulsa through rolling farms and dozens of small towns in eastern Oklahoma, local prosecutors are handing off hundreds of criminal cases involving tribal victims and defendants.
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Old 7th October 2020, 12:16 PM   #10
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Detailed explanation

Here is the actual memo:
https://turtletalk.files.wordpress.c...gov.-stitt.pdf
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Old 8th October 2020, 02:23 PM   #11
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I wonder what happens when someone identifies as native american when they interact with the police? Is there an ID invovled?
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Old 8th October 2020, 02:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
I wonder what happens when someone identifies as native american when they interact with the police? Is there an ID invovled?
Wouldn't it be done on location? That's how police jurisdiction is usually defined.
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Old 8th October 2020, 03:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Wouldn't it be done on location? That's how police jurisdiction is usually defined.
It can get weird.

On some reservations the tribes have civil jurisdiction over everybody but only have criminal jurisdiction over tribal members. Residents or visitors of such a reservation might still be under the criminal jurisdiction of the state or county.

Civil jurisdiction can be dependent upon whether or not the land in question is "trust land", that usually applies to all lands within reservation boundaries, even land owned by people who are not members of the tribe.

But some trust land is not within any reservation, but remains trust land even if owned someone who is not a member of any tribe and isn't Native American.

And some tribes have purchased non-trust land outside of Reservations with the goal of getting trust status over that land. Which can be a decades-long legal process. Until then, that tribe's jurisdiction over that bit of land is just that of a property owner.

That's different from criminal jurisdiction. The ability of a tribe to enforce criminal justice, even within its own reservation, varies from place to place, tribe to tribe. P.L. 280 and similar laws turned all that into a complicated thing.

The situation in Oklahoma will probably take decades to get sorted out in courts and politics.
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Old 8th October 2020, 07:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
I wonder what happens when someone identifies as native american when they interact with the police? Is there an ID invovled?
I imagine you're being sarcastic, but yes. All my kids have tribal membership cards, b/c they all have (at least) one ancestor on the Dawes Rolls.

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Old 9th October 2020, 10:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I imagine you're being sarcastic, but yes. All my kids have tribal membership cards, b/c they all have (at least) one ancestor on the Dawes Rolls.
Only partially sarcastic. Call it "Curious with a tinge of misplaced scoffing"
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