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EPA in Michigan

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Application for Treatment as a State for Water Quality Standards

EPA Authorizes Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to Set Water Quality Standards for L’Anse Reservation in Michigan

April 2020, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 announced the approval of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s (KBIC’s) application for “treatment in a similar manner as a state” under the federal Clean Water Act for the L’Anse reservation in Michigan.  The tribe is now authorized to set water quality standards for its reservation.

EPA’s decision promotes tribal self-government and empowers the tribe to develop water quality standards and to issue water quality certifications for actions requiring federal permits on its lands to protect tribal waters.

With this authority, the KBIC can develop water quality standards for its waters within its reservations, as states can do under Sections 303 and 401 of the Clean Water Act. Once EPA has reviewed and approved the standards, the Tribe will administer surface water quality program building upon existing successful environmental programs.

[link to news release]

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