Indian Tribes: Air Quality Planning and Management
The Clean Air Act (CAA) authorizes
EPA to issue regulations specifying the provisions of the CAA for
which Indian tribes may be treated in the same manner as states.
This final rule implements the provisions of section 301(d) of
the Act to authorize eligible tribes to implement their own tribal
Highlights of the Rule
Applicable CAA Programs
- The rule provides that tribes will be treated in the same manner
as states for virtually all CAA programs.
- The rule notes that Congress provided for a grant to tribes
-- with approved CAA programs -- of authority over all air resources
within the exterior boundaries of a reservation (including non-Indian
owned fee lands). For non-reservation areas, tribes must demonstrate
the basis for jurisdiction.
Eligibility for Treatment in a Manner Similar to States
- Criteria for eligibility include demonstrating that the tribe:
(1) is federally recognized; (2) has a governing body carrying
out substantial governmental duties and powers; and (3) is capable
of implementing the program consistent with the CAA and applicable
regulations. The tribe must also identify the exterior boundaries
of the reservation and, for non-reservation areas, must demonstrate
the basis for jurisdiction.
- A tribe previously determined eligible (or meeting "treatment
in the same manner as a state" criteria) under another EPA program
will simply have to note such determination has been made in order
to demonstrate that it is federally recognized and has an adequate
- EPA generally will simultaneously review tribal applications
for eligibility and CAA program submittals.
- The rule authorizes tribes to submit CAA programs; however,
it does not require tribes to develop CAA programs.
- Tribes may implement those programs, or even portions of programs,
that are most relevant to the air quality needs of tribes.
- All tribal CAA programs submitted to EPA for approval must
meet the applicable CAA requirements for that program.
- Tribes will have the same authority as states do under the
CAA to impose more stringent requirements.
- The rule also lays out a strategy for federal implementation
of the CAA in Indian country when tribes choose not to implement
their own CAA programs.
- Financial assistance for tribes will continue to be available
under section 103 for studies and air quality assessments and
section 105 for support of air pollution control programs. In
addition, tribes can apply for funding assistance for developing
environmental programs under the Agency's Indian Environmental
General Assistance Grants Program.
- For tribes that establish eligibility to be treated in a manner
similar to states, the rule establishes an initial tribal match
of 5% for federal assistance under section 105 authority, with
the possibility of a waiver for demonstrated financial hardship.
After two years, EPA may raise the match to 10% if EPA determines
(based on objective criteria) that the tribe can afford the increased
match. EPA commits to review the experience of the program to
determine appropriate long-term cost share rates within five years
of the promulgation of the rule.
- Tribes that do not establish eligibility to be treated in a
manner similar to states will continue to be eligible for § 105
grants but they must provide the 40% tribal match and comply with
the maintenance of effort requirements.
For more information
Please direct your questions to:
Office of Air & Radiation
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Telephone: (202) 564-1389