The Red Lake Nation may now develop its own water quality standards for surface waters within the reservation after federal approval.
The Environmental Protection Agency said in a release that the Band met Clean Water Act requirements and may create standards in a manner similar to a state.
Any new or revised water quality standards will need to be proposed under a separate action, which is subject to public notice, public comment and EPA approval.
“I am so pleased the Red Lake Nation sought and has received authority to protect lakes, streams and rivers on its reservation,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore.
“I commend the Band for its strong commitment to safeguarding valuable water resources and community health in keeping with their tradition and heritage.”
“The Red Lake Nation is deeply tied to the lakes and their interconnected waters. The water is one of our most cherished resources,” said Red Lake Nation Chairman Darrel Seki.
“Recognition of the Band’s TAS is an important step toward protecting the water and further exercising tribal sovereignty. We look forward to developing Water Quality Standards for all tribal waters that are appropriate for tribal needs and uses and providing further protection for all species dependent on them.”
“The Red Lake Nation has a unique history of preserving and reviving the Tribe’s incredible natural resources,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Katrina Kessler.
“The MPCA recognizes and respects the Red Lake Nation’s sovereign status and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the Tribe to protect our shared waters.”
The Red Lake Reservation is 836,000 acres, spanning portions of Beltrami, Clearwater, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties.