Why local agreements?
Recognition that States, local governments and tribes must interact on a day-to-day basis has encouraged the development of intergovernmental agreements. Judicially enforcable working agreements that resolve jurisdictional or substantive disputes while recognizing each entity's sovereignty. These Memorandums of Understanding (MOU's) or Municiple Service Agreements (MSA's) have become a "device of necessity" for tribes and regional governments. Both groups have recognized the benefits of negotiated agreements for effective delivery of social services, economic development and resource protection.
The list of "judicially enforceable local agreements" continues to grow. The 2004 re-negotiated compacts required the development of local agreements. This component now appears to be a standard in any compact re-negotiation. Local agreements mitigate land use issues and services. Issues and services paid for by taxpayers which ensures the health and safety of the public and an equitable sharing of natural resources.
The "judicially enforceable local agreement" component requires a Tribal Environmental Impact Statement and the requirement to mitigate significant off-reservation impacts which affect the shared resources of the regional community. The required local agreements restore the voice of citizens who have previously been left out of the decision process, as tribal governments decided what was best for the tribe only.
In the event that negotiations collapse, the compacts provide an arbitration process. This is a necessary component which provides a solution to an impasse. However, it is less desirable than working out differences over the practice of good planning principles and performing adequate due diligence.