40 CFR § 130.16 - Treatment of Indian tribes in a similar manner as states for purposes of the Clean Water Act.

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§ 130.16 Treatment of Indian tribes in a similar manner as states for purposes of the Clean Water Act.

(a) The Regional Administrator may accept and approve a tribal application for purposes of administering the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d) Impaired Water Listing and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program if the tribe meets the following criteria:

(1) The Indian tribe is recognized by the Secretary of the Interior and meets the definitions in § 131.3(k) and (l) of this chapter;

(2) The Indian tribe has a governing body carrying out substantial governmental duties and powers;

(3) The CWA section 303(d) Impaired Water Listing and TMDL Program to be administered by the Indian tribe pertains to the management and protection of water resources that are within the borders of the Indian reservation and held by the Indian tribe, within the borders of the Indian reservation and held by the United States in trust for Indians, within the borders of the Indian reservation and held by a member of the Indian tribe if such property interest is subject to a trust restriction on alienation, or otherwise within the borders of the Indian reservation; and

(4) The Indian tribe is reasonably expected to be capable, in the Regional Administrator's judgment, of carrying out the functions of an effective CWA Section 303(d) Impaired Water Listing and TMDL Program in a manner consistent with the terms and purposes of the Act and applicable regulations.

(b) Requests by Indian tribes for administration of the CWA Section 303(d) Impaired Water Listing and TMDL Program should be submitted to the appropriate EPA Regional Administrator. The application shall include the following information, provided that where the tribe has previously qualified for eligibility or “treatment as a state” (TAS) under another EPA-administered program, the tribe need only provide the required information that has not been submitted in a previous application:

(1) A statement that the tribe is recognized by the Secretary of the Interior.

(2) A descriptive statement demonstrating that the tribal governing body is currently carrying out substantial governmental duties and powers over a defined area. The statement should:

(i) Describe the form of the tribal government;

(ii) Describe the types of governmental functions currently performed by the tribal governing body such as, but not limited to, the exercise of police powers affecting (or relating to) the health, safety, and welfare of the affected population, taxation, and the exercise of the power of eminent domain; and

(iii) Identify the source of the tribal government's authority to carry out the governmental functions currently being performed.

(3) A descriptive statement of the tribe's authority to regulate water quality. The statement should include:

(i) A map or legal description of the area over which the tribe asserts authority to regulate surface water quality;

(ii) A statement by the tribe's legal counsel (or equivalent official) that describes the basis for the tribe's assertion of authority and may include a copy of documents such as tribal constitutions, by-laws, charters, executive orders, codes, ordinances, and/or resolutions that support the tribe's assertion of authority; and

(iii) An identification of the surface waters that the tribe proposes to assess for potential impaired water listing and TMDL development.

(4) A narrative statement describing the capability of the Indian tribe to administer an effective CWA Section 303(d) Impaired Water Listing and TMDL Program. The narrative statement should include:

(i) A description of the Indian tribe's previous management experience that may include the administration of programs and services authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450, et seq.), the Indian Mineral Development Act (25 U.S.C. 2101, et seq.), or the Indian Sanitation Facility Construction Activity Act (42 U.S.C. 2004a);

(ii) A list of existing environmental or public health programs administered by the tribal governing body and copies of related tribal laws, policies, and regulations;

(iii) A description of the entity (or entities) that exercise the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of the tribal government;

(iv) A description of the existing, or proposed, agency of the Indian tribe that will assume primary responsibility for establishing, reviewing, implementing and revising impaired water lists and TMDLs; and

(v) A description of the technical and administrative capabilities of the staff to administer and manage an effective CWA Section 303(d) Impaired Water Listing and TMDL Program or a plan that proposes how the tribe will acquire the needed administrative and technical expertise. The plan must address how the tribe will obtain the funds to acquire the administrative and technical expertise.

(5) Additional documentation required by the Regional Administrator that, in the judgment of the Regional Administrator, is necessary to support a tribal application.

(c) Procedure for processing a tribe's application:

(1) The Regional Administrator shall process an application of a tribe submitted pursuant to § 130.16(b) in a timely manner. The Regional Administrator shall promptly notify the tribe of receipt of the application.

(2) Except as provided below in paragraph (c)(4) of this section, within 30 days after receipt of the tribe's application, the Regional Administrator shall provide appropriate notice. Notice shall:

(i) Include information on the substance and basis of the tribe's assertion of authority to regulate the quality of reservation waters;

(ii) Be provided to all appropriate governmental entities; and

(iii) Provide 30 days for comments to be submitted on the tribal application. Comments shall be limited to the tribe's assertion of authority.

(3) If a tribe's asserted authority is subject to a competing or conflicting claim, the Regional Administrator, after due consideration, and in consideration of other comments received, shall determine whether the tribe has adequately demonstrated that it meets the requirements of § 130.16(a)(3).

(4) Where, after the effective date of this rule, EPA has determined that a tribe qualifies for TAS for the CWA Section 303(c) Water Quality Standards Program, CWA Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program, or CWA Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permit Program, and provided notice and an opportunity to comment on the tribe's assertion of authority to appropriate governmental entities as part of its review of the tribe's prior application, no further notice to governmental entities, as described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, shall be provided with regard to the same tribe's application for the CWA Section 303(d) Impaired Water Listing and TMDL Program, unless the application presents to the EPA Regional Administrator different jurisdictional issues or significant new factual or legal information relevant to jurisdiction.

(5) Where the Regional Administrator determines that a tribe meets the requirements of this section, he or she shall promptly provide written notification to the tribe that the tribe is authorized to administer the CWA Section 303(d) Impaired Water Listing and TMDL Program. Such tribe shall be considered a “State” for purposes of CWA section 303(d) and its implementing regulations. With respect to the timing requirement for submittal of an authorized tribe's first list of impaired waters pursuant to § 130.7(d)(1), the tribe's first list is due on the next listing cycle due date that is at least 24 months from the later of either:

(i) The date EPA approves the tribe's TAS application pursuant to this section; or

(ii) The date EPA-approved or EPA-promulgated water quality standards become effective for the tribe's reservation waters.

[81 FR 65915, Sept. 26, 2016]