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News Releases from Region 10

Kalispel Tribe of Indians receives important air quality determination from EPA

EPA has approved tribe’s eligibility for treatment in the same manner as a state for the Clean Air Act

Contact Information: 
Suzanne Skadowski - EPA Region 10 ( )
Julie Holland - Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority (

Usk, Washington – The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10 has approved the Kalispel Tribe of Indians' eligibility for treatment in the same manner as a state (TAS) with regard to the Clean Air Act.

Several federal environmental laws authorize the EPA to treat eligible federally recognized Indian tribes in a similar manner as a state for implementing and managing certain environmental programs.  The Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act expressly provide the authority for Indian tribes to play essentially the same role in Indian country that states do within state lands. Tribes must apply for and receive TAS approval for each specific program or function.

The Kalispel Tribe applied for and received TAS approval for administrative purposes only under the Clean Air Act on December 1, 2020. The Kalispel Tribe previously received TAS approval for the Clean Water Act in 2004. To receive TAS approval, Tribes must meet certain legal requirements, including the demonstrated ability to carry out substantial governmental duties and powers and the capability to fulfil their proposed new functions.  The Kalispel Tribe has an established Water and Environment Program that develops and administers its air programs.

“The Kalispel Tribe’s efforts to build the expertise and the capacity to manage air quality programs is an important achievement,” said Chris Hladick, EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle. “Promoting tribal self-governance is critical to implementing Clean Air Act programs and protecting air quality. With this determination, we recognize the Kalispel Tribe’s authority to safeguard the health and heritage of their tribal community, and natural resources.”

“The Kalispel Tribe has always had great respect for the natural resources that sustain our people and our culture,” says Kalispel Tribal Chairman Glen Nenema. “For more than 30 years, we have grown our Natural Resources Department to be an environmental leader in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.  While we are not taking on any enforcement authority with this treatment as a state determination, it will allow us to exercise our sovereign authority and collaborate with EPA and neighboring states to protect the air and water around us for generations to come.”

For more information on Treatment as a State, and for a list of tribes with TAS approval, visit:

About the Kalispel Tribe of Indians

Once one of the poorest Native American tribes in the United States, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians is now one of the top private employers in the Spokane region. The historically humble and hospitable tribe operates Northern Quest Resort & Casino, the region’s premier destination resort. Tribal health and social service programs, supported by the resort, have increased the quality and life expectancy for tribal members and surrounding communities near the tribe’s reservation along the Pend Oreille River. The tribe maintains a number of business enterprises, provides approximately 2,000 jobs, and has donated more than $19 million to regional non-profit organizations. Find out more about the Kalispel Tribe’s rich cultural history and their progression at