Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation of Idaho


The tribes agreed to help the Department of Energy during an environmental investigation of contaminated areas at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. The 890-square-mile research laboratory lies within the traditional homeland of the tribes. A tribal risk assessment committee will develop a process that evaluates and reviews contaminated areas in the context of tribal cultural and ecological integrity, oral tradition and tribal history. The work will include establishing protocol between the Energy Department and the tribes for the Waste Area Group 10 risk assessment, as well as the integration of tribal culture into the ecological and human health risk assessment processes on the laboratory. Officials say the work will help fill the gaps in the standard risk assessment processes and address the impacts and potential adverse effects of past lab actions on the tribes, their treaty rights and homeland. The tribal work, in conjunction with other institutional and technical information, will be used by the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and state of Idaho to determine if, and how extensively, contaminated laboratory sites should be cleaned. A risk assessment is part of a Superfund investigation that identifies and analyzes how people or the environment have been impacted by contamination.