MIL-OSI USA: EPA Approves Red Lake Nation to Develop Water Quality Standards for Reservation in Minnesota


Source: US Environment Protection Agency

CHICAGO (Dec. 2, 2021) – Today U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Red Lake Nation (the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of Minnesota) is now approved to develop water quality standards for surface waters on the Red Lake Reservation. The 836,000-acre reservation spans portions of Beltrami, Clearwater, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties. 

 “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.”

After a thorough review of the Red Lake Nation’s application and public comments, EPA determined that the Band meets the Clean Water Act requirements to develop water quality standards “in a similar manner as a state’’ and to make water quality certifications for its reservation. An authorized tribe or state must propose any new or revised water quality standard under a separate action which is subject to public notice, public comment and EPA approval.

“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.”

At EPA, honoring the government-to-government relationship and maintaining a strong partnership with Tribes are central to administering programs and advancing environmental justice and equity.

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