Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe receives EPA approval to administer Clean Water Act programs on reservation and trust lands
SEATTLE -- (April 5, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the application from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to administer the Clean Water Act’s water quality standards and certification programs on reservation and trust lands.
With this approval, the JST will assume Clean Water Act authority to manage and protect all surface waters within its reservation and trust lands. Trust lands include lands located outside of the reservation that are held in trust by the United States for the JST. The JST’s reservation and trust lands collectively cover almost 645 acres near the Dungeness River and Sequim Bay in Washington.
“The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe has long maintained strong environmental programs, and their commitment to a strong water quality program was evident in their application for Treatment in a Similar Manner as a State,” said Dan Opalski, Director of EPA’s Water Division in Seattle. “We look forward to the Tribe’s continued engagement with the EPA, the state of Washington and stakeholders in the area as they implement their new authorities.”
“Requiring and achieving excellent water quality is important for our tribal treaty resources, jurisdiction authority and essential for our citizen health,” said W. Ron Allen, Tribal Chair and CEO of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. “The Tribe is proud of our environmental stewardship and is pleased to achieve this federal recognition of ‘Treatment as a State’ for water quality standards.”
The JST applied to EPA for “Treatment in a Similar Manner to a State” (TAS) for the Clean Water Act section 303(c), water quality standards, and the section 401, water quality certification programs, on October 7, 2021.
Specifically, EPA’s approval will enable the JST to set water quality goals and standards – the regulatory and scientific foundation for protecting water quality – for all water bodies within the JST reservation and trust lands. After those standards are reviewed and approved by EPA, all applicable water quality standards will be incorporated into Clean Water Act-permitted discharges into reservation waters. EPA’s approval does not alter or modify water quality standards outside of the JST reservation and trust Lands.
The JST was previously approved by EPA for TAS status for Clean Water Act section 106 (Water Pollution Protection programs) in 1996 and section 319 (Nonpoint Source programs) in 2000.
Several federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, authorize EPA to treat eligible federally recognized Indian tribes in a similar manner as a state for implementing and managing certain environmental programs. The basic requirements for applying for TAS are that the tribe must be federally recognized; have a governing body to carry out substantial governmental duties and powers; the management and protection of water resources are within the jurisdiction of the tribe; and be capable of administering the functions of the program.
EPA’s approval of the JST Application does not constitute an approval (or disapproval) by EPA of the tribe’s water quality standards. Any water quality standards adopted by a tribe and submitted to EPA for action must satisfy all Clean Water Act and other regulatory requirements, including public participation to ensure an appropriate opportunity for any interested entities to provide input on the proposed water quality standards.
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