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EPA announces approval of Shoshone Bannock Tribes’ application for “Treatment-as-a-State” to administer water quality standards under the Federal Clean Water Act

Release Date: 09/09/2008
Contact Information: Rich McAllister, EPA/Seattle, 206-553-8203, Mark MacIntyre, EPA/Seattle, 206-553-7302,

(Seattle, Washington - September 9, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10 has approved the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ application for treatment in a similar manner as a State (“TAS”) under the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The approval gives the Shoshone Bannock Tribes greater authority and responsibility for protecting water quality on the Fort Hall Reservation. Today’s TAS approval covers all of the water bodies within the exterior boundaries of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.

According to Elin Miller, EPA regional administrator in Seattle, today’s TAS decision reflects real progress in fulfilling one of the Agency’s top priorities.

“Building tribal expertise and increased capacity for environmental protection is a top priority for EPA,” said EPA’s Miller. “Our action today not only acknowledges the Tribes’ demonstrated commitment to protecting water quality, but also reflects how seriously we take our tribal trust responsibilities in the pursuit of environmental protection for all.”

EPA’s action means that the Tribes can now develop their own water quality standards under the Clean Water Act. They also can issue water quality certifications for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater discharge permits and any other federal permit or license where there is a discharge to Reservation waters.

The Tribes have been working with EPA and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality as the Tribes develop their water quality standards. The standards will set goals for how clean the reservation waters within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation should be.

The Tribes, IDEQ and EPA are also signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes a process for the three governments to work together for any future revisions to the water quality standards. The MOU will be available after it has been signed by the three governments.

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*note to reporters/editors: please see the attached fact sheet (PDF) (2 pp. 51K, about PDF) and Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) (5 pp. 31K, about PDF); the first website provides more background on the EPA’s TAS approval process and the second offers additional documents related to Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ TAS approval.