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Environmental Protection Agency authorizes Red Lake Nation to set water quality standards

The United States Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced it had authorized the Red Lake Nation to set its own water quality standards, in a manner similar to a state.

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CHICAGO -- The Red Lake Nation has been approved to develop its own water quality standards by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

According to a release, the Red Lake Nation will now be able to establish standards for all surface waters in the 836,000-acre reservation. The EPA determined that Red Lake met the Clean Water Act requirements to create such standards, similar to how a state would.

When the tribal government takes action on a new or revised water standard, the action will be subject to public notice, a public comment period and EPA approval.

In a statement, Red Lake Chairman Darrel Seki called the band's approval for being treated as a state by the EPA an "important step toward protecting the water and further exercising tribal sovereignty. The Red Lake Nation is deeply tried to the lakes and their interconnected waters. 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 land spans portions of Beltrami, Clearwater, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau Counties.

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"I am so pleased the Red Lake Nation sought and has received authority to protect lakes, streams and rivers on its reservation," said Debra Shore, EPA Region 5 administrator. "I commend the band for its strong commitment to safeguarding valuable water resources and community health in keeping with their tradition and heritage."

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