Under Section 303 and 401 of the Clean Water Act, the EPA can approve tribal applications for “treatment in a similar manner as a state,” meaning that the tribe has the authority to develop water quality standards and issue water quality certifications of federal actions for the waterways within their reservation. EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Jared Blumenfeld traveled to the tribe’s land, in Shurz, Nevada, to present a Certificate of Achievement to Tribal Chairman Bobby Sanchez.
“I am pleased to announce that the Walker River Paiute’s will now exercise their own authority under the Clean Water Act,” Blumenfeld said. “The waters on this land are integral to the tribe’s health and culture.”
The Walker River Paiute Tribe will now be able to develop its own water quality standards and submit them to the EPA for approval in the same manner as states. The tribe will also administer those water quality standards and further develop environmental programs to enhance water quality in their jurisdiction.