Air Treatment as a State

Air Treatment as a State

Through section 301(d) of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prepare regulations that would specify those sections of the Act for which Indian Tribes could be given authority over all air resources within the exterior boundaries of a reservation in the same manner as states are given authority over air resources within state boundaries. However, while states are required to administer all sections of the Act, Tribes can choose which sections of the Act they would like the authority to implement.

Clean Air Act § 301(d)

Tribal Authority Rule (TAR)

The U.S. EPA finalized the Tribal Authority Rule (TAR) in February 1998 (40 C.F.R. § 49.6) that outlines the application process that a Tribe must follow to acquire TAS status.

The applicant must provide the following statements and descriptions:

  • that the applicant is an Indian Tribe recognized by the Secretary of the Interior
  • demonstration that the applicant is currently carrying out substantial governmental duties and powers over a defined area
  • the Indian Tribe’s authority to regulate air quality
  • capability of the Tribe to effectively administer any Clean Air Act program for which the Tribe is seeking approval

    Federal Register publication of the Tribal Authority Rule

Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s TAS for Air Quality

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa submitted the application in January 2004 for § 105 and § 505(a)(2), and received approval from the U.S. EPA in February 2005. These delegations enable the Tribe to actively participate in air pollution permitting and management.

Section 505(a)(2) Affected State Status: provides that a state issuing Title V operating air pollution permit shall notify the State/Tribe that are affected and contiguous, or within a 50-mile radius of the facility being permitted and provide the State/Tribe an opportunity to submit written recommendations.