U.S. EPA approves Navajo Nation and Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation authority to develop water quality standards

May 23, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the approval of applications for “treatment in a similar manner as a state” (TAS) under the federal Clean Water Act for the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, in Nevada and Utah, and the 1.5-million-acre Bennett Freeze area of the Navajo Nation.

Michael Stoker, regional administrator for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, presented the signed Certificate of Achievements in a ceremony at the Regional Tribal Operations Committee meeting in San Francisco.

“We are pleased to recognize the tribes’ authority to protect rivers and streams on tribal lands,” said Mr. Stoker. “The Goshute and Navajo Nation will continue to safeguard the health and heritage of their tribal communities and natural resources.”

EPA’s decision promotes tribal self-government, empowering the tribes to develop EPA-approved water quality standards and to issue water quality certifications for actions requiring federal permits on their lands in order to protect tribal waters. The Navajo Nation previously obtained TAS authority for their lands, with the exception of the now-included Bennett Freeze area.

There are now 18 tribes in EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region with this authority.

With this authority, the Goshute and Navajo tribes can develop water quality standards for their waters within their reservations, similar to the process used by states under Sections 303 and 401 of the Clean Water Act. After the tribes develop, and EPA approves, the standards, the tribes will administer surface water quality standards, building upon existing successful environmental programs.

For more information on Treatment as a State, and for a list of tribes with the same designation, please visit: www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/epa-approvals-tribal-water-quality-standards