Tribal Waste and Response Assistance Program
National Tribal Steering Committee
Conference Call Meeting Notes
September 22, 2011
Important Upcoming Dates
December 6-7, 2011: Steering Committee meeting in Washington DC
Steering Committee Members:
Sherry Bishop – Absent
Dino Chavarria, vice-chair - Present
Tim Kent - Absent
Katie Kruse, chair - Present
Virginia LeClere - Present
Ron Wassillie - Absent (previously informed the committee he had a scheduling conflict)
Laura Weber - Absent (previously informed the committee she was on medical leave)
Danny Joe Stensgar – Absent
Andrew Baca - Absent due to scheduling conflict
A quorum was not achieved as only three committee members were present. Therefore, no decisions
were reached and agenda items were just discussed.
Discussion of the Tribal Lands and Environment Forum
Presentation: ITEP staff provided the steering committee members with the final attendance numbers
at the 2011 Tribal Lands Forum. Steering committee members had been provided with a final report
on evaluation responses prior to the call.
Discussion: Committee members shared their thoughts on the results of the evaluations and
discussed potential areas of improvement at next year's forum. Key issues discussed included:
o Comments received, via the evaluation and in-person conversations between steering
committee members and forum attendees, indicate an interest in further shortening
the plenary session. Committee members suggested the focus of the plenary could be
on tribal success stories and/or a speaker of national interest. This would free up the
late morning for additional breakout sessions. Two issues to consider are would this
limit time available for the host tribe to address all attendees and would the hotel be
able to convert the plenary room to a breakout session room without having the
entire lunch hour to break things down? Steering committee members also suggested
looking at redundancies in the plenary sessions that could be eliminated to save time.
o In order to give the steering committee adequate opportunity to discuss issues with
forum attendees a special recurring breakout session should be scheduled at next
year's forum. Steering committee members would be available during this recurring
session to discuss issues of importance with attendees in a round table format.
o Steering committee members would like to see the number of tribal success stories
increased at next year's forum, during the plenary session and/or in breakout
sessions. Committee members agreed that the committee should take an active role
in identifying potential tribal success stories that could be highlighted at the 2012
o Committee members discussed establishing the Monday before the forum as a
training day. Attendees interested in full day or half day trainings could arrive early.
This would free up Thursday morning for more breakout sessions.
o ITEP would like an increased role for steering committee members in next year's
breakout sessions. Steering committee member could be assigned to each track (e.g.
solid waste, USTs, brownfields, etc). While ITEP would still be responsible for
designing, disseminating, and collecting all breakout session proposal forms, the
steering committee members assigned to certain tracks would work with ITEP to
identify potential instructors and work to fill any gaps they perceive in what is being
offered. It was further suggested that the steering committee consider co-leads for
each track, with one being from the steering committee and one from a USEPA
program, so that a broad perspective is achieved for each media track.
Discussion of Potential Location for the 2012 Tribal Lands Forum
Discussion: At a previous steering committee meeting, members had considered the possibility of
holding the forum in even years at the Sycuan tribe's hotel in San Diego and in odd years at Oneida.
While this would simplify the selection process, there were issues raised about potential problems
with this approach. These included a potentially negative effect on participation by USEPA regional
offices in different locations (due to travel restrictions), limiting the number of unique field trip
opportunities for attendees, and not providing other tribes with the opportunity to host the forum and
therefore highlight their programs and culture. The steering committee agreed that these concerns are
valid and that the forum location should be moved around the country as possible.
Discussion: The steering committee members present talked about various potential sites and the
importance of finding a location that was easily and affordably accessed by attendees from around
the country. ITEP staff has a spreadsheet of tribal facilities throughout the country which lists their
proximity to an airport and their available meeting room sizes. ITEP will make this document
available to the steering committee.
The steering committee agreed that it is imperative to make a decision about the location for the
2012 forum very soon, as it takes a very long time to negotiate contracts for an event of this size. A
special call with the whole committee should be scheduled soon to make this decision.
Presentation: ITEP provided the steering committee with a brief update on TWRAP training course
planning. During early October there will be a phone call with representatives of the Office of
Brownfields and Land Remediation and the Office of Underground Storage Tanks regarding
potential trainings in 2012. Once this call is scheduled ITEP will contact the steering committee
members with information on the time and number to call so they may participate if they so desire.
December Steering Committee Meeting in Washington DC
Discussion: Steering committee members shared their ideas on subjects that should be covered in DC
as well as possible meetings that should be scheduled with USEPA personnel.
The steering committee chair stated that members need to inform Andrew Baca of who they would
like to meet with while in Washington DC. She will work with ITEP and the vice chair to develop a
draft agenda for the December meeting which will be disseminated to the committee by the end of