Blackfeet Tribe WQS Treatment as a State Application
EPA Approves the Blackfeet Tribe’s Water Quality Standards Program Eligibility Application
EPA announces its decision to approve the application from the Blackfeet Indian Tribe for program eligibility for the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(c) Water Quality Standards and Section 401 Water Quality Certification programs. CWA Section 518(e)(2) authorizes the EPA to treat a tribe as a state (treatment in a similar manner as a state, or TAS) for water resources “within the borders of an Indian reservation.” This approval applies to all surface waters identified by the Tribe that lie within the exterior borders of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. This decision does not constitute an approval of the Tribe’s water quality standards. The EPA’s review and approval or disapproval of the Tribe’s water quality standards is a separate Agency action.
Section 303(c) of the CWA requires the States to develop, review and revise water quality standards for surface waters of the United States. At a minimum, such standards must include designated uses of waters, criteria to protect such uses, and an antidegradation policy. In addition, Section 401 of the CWA provides that States may grant or deny “certification” for federally permitted or licensed activities that may result in a discharge to the waters of the United States. The decision to grant or deny certification is based on the State’s determination regarding whether the proposed activity will comply with, among other things, water quality standards it has adopted under Section 303. If a State denies certification, the federal permitting or licensing agency is prohibited from issuing a permit or license.
Section 518(e) of the CWA authorizes the EPA to treat an eligible tribe in a similar manner as a state for certain CWA programs, including Sections 303 and 401. The EPA regulations establish the process by which the Agency implements that authority and determines whether to approve a tribal application for program eligibility for purposes of administering Sections 303 and 401 of the CWA.
More information is available in a Fact Sheet, Press Release and Frequently Asked Questions (see documents below) about the EPA’s decision, the Agency’s Decision Document providing the basis and rationale for this decision, and the Tribe’s application materials.
- Fact Sheet
- Press Release
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Decision Document
- Relevant materials from the Tribe's application (large directory containing all application materials)
For additional questions, contact: George Parrish, EPA Region 8, EPR-EP, 1595 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO 80202-1129, phone: 303-312-7027, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.