Carlsbad Field Office
Shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) travel through 10 Native American
Reservations (among six states) along the transportation routes. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carlsbad
Field Office’s (CBFO) Tribal Program enhances the safe transportation of transuranic waste shipments to WIPP
across tribal lands, while strengthening tribes’ capabilities where they have
The CBFO Tribal Program offers formal government-to-government agreements with each
tribe. Routine agency coordination and work is conducted with designated tribal emergency response officials, such
as fire and police officials. Some tribes have also hired environmental management or industrial development
officials to assist the tribes with their programs.
WIPP Land Withdrawal Act states DOE’s obligation to provide financial
assistance, technical assistance and training for emergency preparedness to tribes on the designated WIPP routes.
This is accomplished through formal agreements, made independently with each tribe, recognizing their sovereignty
and respecting their rights in a government-to-government relationship.
The agreements are legal contracting instruments used to provide funds annually for
use in preparing for transportation-related emergencies, according to each tribe’s own identified needs and
goals. The agreements also serve as two-way conduits, promoting
participation in DOE’s decision-making relating
to transuranic waste
The specific scope of each agreement is determined in close cooperation with each
tribe. Activities usually include:
Identification of safe parking and alternate routing
Emergency response training
Hazardous material response training
Emergency response planning
Emergency response and HAZMAT equipment
Agreements with other emergency response institutions (state and local agencies)
Awareness and education about WIPP and transuranic waste transportation issues is
continuously conducted at a national level. By working with tribal leaders, though the formal agreements, CBFO
will continue efforts to provide factual information about the WIPP transportation program and educate communities
regarding the safety and security associated with WIPP.
Cooperative agreements are now in place with eight tribal governments and CBFO
intends to continue working in partnership with other tribal governments that may be impacted by the
transportation of transuranic waste to WIPP.
For more information about the CBFO Tribal Program, contact
James Mason at (575) 234-7335.