Inyo County Tribal Policy

Intergovernmental consultation between the County and recognized local tribes is governed by Senate Bill (SB) 18 (Burton, 2004) and Assembly Bill (AB) 52 (Gatto, 2014) and codified with respect to General Plans in Government Code Section 65562.5 and 65352.3 et seq., Specific Plans in Government Code in Section 65453, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in Public Resources Code Section 21080.3.1 et seq.  Additionally, Inyo County Code Chapter 9.52 addresses disturbances of archaeological, paleontological and/or historical features.  The County has been consulting with local Tribes for many years pursuant to SB18 and, since July 1, 2015, has consulted with local tribes pursuant to AB52.

 

Background

 

SB18 requires that the County consult with local Tribes when adopting or amending its General Plan and/or Specific Plans.  The process is as follows:  (1) the County requests a contact list from the Native American Heritage Commission, (2) the County sends consultation requests to those contacts provided in response at least 90 days prior to any action, and (3) the County consults with any tribes that may request consultation within 30 days.  Consultation is defined as follows:

 

…the meaningful and timely process of seeking, discussing, and considering carefully the views of others, in a manner that is cognizant of all parties’ cultural values and, where feasible, seeking agreement.  Consultation between government agencies and Native American tribes shall be conducted in a way that is mutually respectful of each party’s sovereignty.  Consultation shall also recognize the tribes’ potential needs for confidentiality with respect to places that have traditional tribal cultural significance.

 

AB52 is new legislation that incorporates consultation into the CEQA process. The procedure is that the County must notify local tribes and request consultation for Environmental Impact Reports and (Mitigated) Negative Declarations within geographic areas that may be identified by local tribes.  Within 14 days of determining a project complete or deciding to undertake a project, the lead agency shall notify tribes that have requested to be notified of projects within a geographic area that includes the project, and the tribes have 30 days to request consultation.  The definition of consultation is the same as for SB18.

 

Draft Policy

 

Partly through its efforts to consult with local tribes pursuant to SB18, County staff has been working to develop a Policy to guide consultation and other intergovernmental discussions with local tribes.  Through an iterative process, a Draft Policy has been crafted (attached) that includes the following:

 

 

By design, and in an effort to further Tribal/County relations, the draft policy was drafted to exceed the requirements SB 18 and AB 52

Tribal Consultation Policy:

Tribal Consultation Policy Adoption by Inyo County Board of Supervisors:

Materials from Tribal Consultation Policy Workshops:

Inyo County Board of Supervisors (BOS) Agenda Request Forms: