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EPA delegates Clean Water Act Authority to Nevada Paiute Tribe

Release Date: 02/08/2007
Contact Information: Maggie Witt, 415/972-3370,

SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced its approval of an application by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, located outside Reno, Nev., to administer federal Clean Water Act programs on tribal lands.

The announcement was made at the Regional Tribal Operations Committee meeting in San Francisco last week. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is the 39th tribe out of 563 federally recognized tribes nationwide and the first tribe in Nevada with federally delegated authority from the U.S. EPA to administer water quality standards and a certification program.

"We at EPA celebrate this important achievement with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, which has a very long history of protecting its water resources." said Alexis Strauss, the EPA’s Water Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "We will continue to work together with tribes in the Pacific Southwest to strengthen public health and environmental protection programs."

The tribe will work with the EPA on a government-to-government basis to develop and adopt water quality standards which, once approved, will form the basis for water quality-based effluent limitations and other requirements for discharges to waters within the tribe's jurisdiction.

The tribe is also authorized to grant or deny certification for federally permitted or licensed activities that may affect waters within the borders of their lands.

Under Clean Water Act requirements, the tribe must be federally recognized, have a governing body to carry out substantial governmental duties and powers, have jurisdiction to administer the programs within the boundaries of its reservation, and be reasonably capable of administering the program.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has a reservation, located 30 miles northeast of Reno, Nev., that encompasses Pyramid Lake, the largest water body on tribal lands in California, Arizona, or Nevada. The tribe has depended on Pyramid Lake and the lower Truckee River for food, clothing, shelter materials, and cultural and spiritual health since time immemorial.

For more information about the EPA’s Tribal Water Program for the Pacific Southwest region, visit: