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My Watershed

Guidance for Tribal Governments

The Centennial Accord was executed in 1989 between Tribal Nations and the State of Washington in order to better achieve mutual goals through an improved relationship between their sovereign governments. This Accord provides a framework for that government-to-government relationship. Each Party to this Accord respects the sovereignty of the other. The respective sovereignty of the state and each tribal nation provides paramount authority for that party to exist and to govern. The parties share respect for the values and culture represented by tribal governments.

The Washington State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) also recognizes the importance of developing partnerships with Tribal Nations and their Tribal Emergency Response Commissions. The SERC believes that in order to be more effective in serving the needs of all, it is important to develop partnerships with Tribal Nations. Commissioners recognized the value of creating a position to bring a tribal perspective to the SERC.

In 2005, the Emergency Management Council authorized the creation of a tribal position on the SERC. The SERC charter and bylaws were amended and the position was created. Understanding that an individual can not speak for all tribes, the position was created to bring a tribal perspective to the Commission to assist in completing its mission. Tribal representatives were asked for suggested candidates.

On June 2, 2005, Mr. Curt Russell (Lummi) was approved by a majority vote of tribal representatives present at the annual Tribal Hazmat Workshop. The SERC extended an invitation to Mr. Russell to serve on the Washington State Emergency Response Commission in the newly created tribal position.

The SERC encourages partnerships between Local Emergency Planning Committees and Tribal Nations. The philosophy is that chemicals know no jurisdictional boundaries. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interests to work together.

Tribal Nations have the same responsibilities as states under the Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act. Some tribes have established their own Tribal Emergency Response Commissions, while others have opted to enter into agreements with their Local Emergency Planning Committees.

Guidance for tribal nations is available from the EPA:

EPA Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention:

EPA Region X Tribal Program web site:

Compliance and Enforcement Tribal Resources:


Tribal Pollution Prevention Information:

Guidance for Tribal Emergency Response Commissions includes:

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act in Indian Country

Title III on Indian Lands

Guidance for Preparing Tribal Emergency Response Plans