40 CFR 131.8 - Requirements for Indian Tribes to administer a water quality standards program.

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§ 131.8 Requirements for Indian Tribes to administer a water quality standards program.

(a) The Regional Administrator, as determined based on OMB Circular A-105, may accept and approve a tribal application for purposes of administering a water quality standards 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),

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

(3) The water quality standards program to be administered by the Indian Tribe pertains to the management and protection of water resources which 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 water quality standards program in a manner consistent with the terms and purposes of the Act and applicable regulations.

(b) Requests by Indian Tribes for administration of a water quality standards program should be submitted to the lead EPA Regional Administrator. The application shall include the following information:

(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 Indian Tribe's authority to regulate water quality. The statement should include:

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

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

(iii) An identification of the surface waters for which the Tribe proposes to establish water quality standards.

(4) A narrative statement describing the capability of the Indian Tribe to administer an effective water quality standards program. The narrative statement should include:

(i) A description of the Indian Tribe's previous management experience which may include the administration of programs and services authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act ( 25 U.S.C. 450et seq.), the Indian Mineral Development Act ( 25 U.S.C. 2101et 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) which exercise the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of the Tribal government;

(iv) A description of the existing, or proposed, agency of the Indian Tribe which will assume primary responsibility for establishing, reviewing, implementing and revising water quality standards;

(v) A description of the technical and administrative capabilities of the staff to administer and manage an effective water quality standards program or a plan which proposes how the Tribe will acquire additional 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 which, in the judgment of the Regional Administrator, is necessary to support a Tribal application.

(6) Where the Tribe has previously qualified for eligibility or “treatment as a state” under a Clean Water Act or Safe Drinking Water Act program, the Tribe need only provide the required information which has not been submitted in a previous application.

(c)Procedure for processing an Indian Tribe's application.

(1) The Regional Administrator shall process an application of an Indian Tribe submitted pursuant to § 131.8(b) in a timely manner. He shall promptly notify the Indian Tribe of receipt of the application.

(2) Within 30 days after receipt of the Indian 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; and

(ii) Be provided to all appropriate governmental entities.

(3) The Regional Administrator shall provide 30 days for comments to be submitted on the Tribal application. Comments shall be limited to the Tribe's assertion of authority.

(4) 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 § 131.8(a)(3).

(5) Where the Regional Administrator determines that a Tribe meets the requirements of this section, he shall promptly provide written notification to the Indian Tribe that the Tribe is authorized to administer the Water Quality Standards program.

[ 56 FR 64895, Dec. 12, 1991, as amended at 59 FR 64344, Dec. 14, 1994]

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