Professor Grijalva appointed Facilitator of Office of Environmental Justice Workshop

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News Article

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Campus Unit

School of Law


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) has recently appointed UND Law Professor James Grijalva to be the sole facilitator of a three-day Collaborative Approaches, Dispute Resolution and Environmental Laws workshop scheduled for April 7-10, 2014 in New Town, ND. The targeted audience is tribal government staff members (Council members, energy department staff, and environmental department staff), tribal environmental grassroots organizations, and other community members. Other workshop participants include North Dakota's U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon, North Dakota Indian Affairs Commissioner Scott Davis, and North Dakota's Environmental Health Section Chief Dave Glatt, as well as a number of federal officials from various agencies like EPA, BLM, HUD, DOJ and NIOSH.

This is the eighth such Indian country environmental dispute resolution workshop sponsored by EPA across the country (AZ, NM, WY, MN, and WI) in which Professor Grijalva has participated as event facilitator. Since Grijalva created the Tribal Environmental Law Project in 1996, he has worked directly with the tribal government officials and/or tribal grassroots organizations of over 50 Indian tribes, in over 20 states, spanning seven of EPA's nine regions with tribes.

The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation live in the middle of North Dakota's oil boom, and like the State, are experiencing the positive and negative effects of the frenetic natural resource development on and near their reservation. Similar to other parts of the State, there is a serious level of stress on the reservation between those getting rich and those suffering the negative environmental consequences of the development. That tension is manifesting itself and creating extreme tension between the tribal government and many traditional tribal citizens concerned about impacts on their cultural survival.