The Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in north-central Montana has been granted the authority by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to administer the Water Quality Standards program under the Clean Water Act (CWA). With this approval, the Tribe likewise is authorized to administer water quality certifications conducted under CWA Section 401.
The Clean Water Act's regulates chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters. The standards serve as water quality goals for surface waters, regulation of monitoring and assessment activities, and provide a legal basis for permitting.
EPA's approval of the Tribe's Water Quality Standards program application is not an approval or disapproval of the Tribe's standards. EPA review and approval or disapproval of specific standards is a separate Agency action.
The Tribe's current standards , set in 2005, are consistent with federal, EPA's Water Quality Standards Regulations, and similar to the State of Montana's standards. The Tribe plans to revise its standards, conduct a public hearing, and submit their revised standards to the EPA for review during the summer/fall of 2012.
The Blackfeet Tribe is the fourth tribe in Montana to obtain authority to administer the Water Quality Standards program. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation and the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation currently have standards in effect under the Clean Water Act. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation received authority for the Water Quality Standards program in 2006.
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