Executive order: State permitting agencies must consult Tribal Nations

FILE - In this  Wednesday Nov 18, 2020. file photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures during...
FILE - In this Wednesday Nov 18, 2020. file photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures during a COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Virginia lawmakers are set to start this year’s legislative session focused on COVID-19 relief efforts and legalizing marijuana. The 2021 session will kick off Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 with lawmakers meeting away from the Capitol as the state continues to wrestle with the impacts of a global pandemic that’s shut down school, closed businesses and left more than 5,000 Virginians dead in last 10 months, including a state senator. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)(Steve Helber | AP)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:05 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order Thursday directing state permitting agencies to consult with Tribal Nations when considering proposals for development.

The goal is to protect environmental, historic and cultural resources by being aware of any concerns the tribes may have.

“The Commonwealth has an important and unique government-to-government relationship with Virginia’s Tribal Nations,” said Northam. “In recent years, we have worked to address past wrongs and strengthen our relationships with Virginia’s Tribes. Tribal Nations have always been integral to the cultural and historic fabric of Virginia, and this order is among the first steps that will affirm tribal sovereignty and enhance relationships between our governments.”

Four different state agencies are now required to establish a Tribal Consultation policy within 90 days.

“This order helps advance the relationship between the Commonwealth and our tribes, after the United States recognized our sovereignty in 2018, and affirms the Commonwealth’s obligations under treaties stretching back more than 300 years,” said Anne Richardson, Chief of the Rappahannock Tribe.

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