DALLAS — The Pueblo of Santa Ana in New Mexico was granted authority over water quality standards under the Clean Water Act, according to a press release.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the decision at the Regional Tribal Operations Committee meeting, stated the release. The tribe is the 50th to be granted authority over water quality standards and certification programs.

“This is an important achievement for the Pueblo of Santa Ana as they protect waters on their lands which are integral to daily life and their rich cultural heritage,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry in the release. “EPA’s 1984 Indian Policy continues to represent a bold statement on the commitment to our partnership with federally recognized Indian tribes and to tribal self-governance in implementing environmental protection programs. EPA remains fully committed to engaging tribes as sovereign governments with a right to self-governance.”

For a tribe to be given authority over water quality, the Clean Water Act requires it to be federally recognized, have a governing body and jurisdiction, noted the release. The EPA will review the tribe’s standards.

The Tribal Operations Committee was founded “in 1994 to assist EPA with the establishment of a national co-regulatory partnership,” reported the release. It provided a forum for enhancing tribal environmental protection.

You can find the entire release here.