State officials are overreacting to an Environmental Protection Agency action giving Salish and Kootenai tribes authority over water quality on the Flathead Reservation, a tribal leader said.
The EPA last week granted a 1992 tribal request to be treated as a state for developing Clean Water Act standards for all reservation surface waters.
State officials contest the action and will sue the agency, said Gov. Marc Racicot. They say the state has pollution control authority over non-Indians and private land on the reservations. The state does not claim authority over tribal members or land.
“This designation is not a blow to state authority because the state never had the authority on the reservation in the first place,” tribal chairman Mickey Pablo said Friday.
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