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EPA decision acknowledges tribal sovereignty for Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community / “Treatment as a state” approval supports Tribe’s air quality programs

Release Date: 10/23/2008
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the “Treatment as State” applications for the Phoenix area’s Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

“With this decision, the EPA recognizes the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community’s exceptional environmental program and their dedication to cleaner air,” said Wayne Nastri, Administrator of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Treatment as a state guarantees the Tribe additional authority for several important air programs.”

For the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community’s “treatment as state,” the Tribe will receive Clean Air Act Section 105 funding which guarantees future funding for their air program. The Tribe has demonstrated their capacity and ability to manage and protect air resources. This designation also requires major sources of air pollution within 50 miles to notify the Tribe, in the same manner states are notified, when these sources of air pollution are proposed or modified. This approval gives the tribe the ability to comment formally as a sovereign entity.

The Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community’s “treatment as state” also gives the tribe the authority to comment on air quality designations in the same manner as the state of Arizona.

The Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, created by Executive Order on June 14, 1879 is located on 53,600 acres in Maricopa County, aside the boundaries of Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and metropolitan Phoenix. Comprised of the President, Vice President and seven elected Council members, the Community Council governs the population of over 7,000 people. The tribe maintains 19,000 acres as a natural preserve and approximately 12,000 acres are under cultivation in a variety of crops including cotton, melons, potatoes, onions, broccoli and carrots.

For more information on “Treatment as a state,” please go to: http://www.epa.gov/tribalportal/laws/tas.htm

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