Environment News Service

AmeriScan: May 26, 1999

INDIAN TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN NRC HEARINGS

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is amending its regulations to provide federally recognized Indian tribes with the option to participate in NRC adjudicatory proceedings as an "interested governmental participant," rather than requiring them to intervene as a formal "party" in any proceeding in which they wish to participate. Formal intervention is currently the only course of action available to tribal governments. This amendment to the NRC's Rules of Practice recognizes that tribes exercise inherent sovereign powers over their members and territories, similar to the powers exercised by state and local governments. Accordingly, the amendment ensures that tribes have the same options now available to state governments, units of local governments, and their official subdivisions, any of which can take part in NRC proceedings as an "interested governmental participant." The rule is being published in final form because NRC considers this action noncontroversial and routine. It will become effective 60 days from the date of publication in an upcoming edition of the Federal Register, unless significant adverse comments are received within 30 days of publication of the notice. Comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff. Comments may be submitted through the NRC homepage: http://www.nrc.gov by selecting the "comments" link on the rulemaking web site.

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