The Confederated Colville Tribes has received authority from the federal government to set water quality standards on its reservation.
The 10,000-member tribe will have the ability to create surface water standards for parts of the Columbia, Okanogan and San Poil rivers, and other water bodies on the reservation. The tribe will also enforce pollution limits from permitted dischargers.
The Colville Tribe has been working toward that goal since 2014, said Michael Marchand, the tribe’s chairman.
“We will continue to promote and expand tribal jurisdiction over the lands and waters in our territories, and to protect all the natural resources,” he said in a news release.
The Clean Water Act authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to treat federally recognized tribes similar to states for managing some types of environmental programs.
The tribe’s standards must meet requirements of the Clean Water Act and be approved by EPA. The standards must be developed with public participation, so interested parties have a chance to comment.
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