This article investigates the use of section 518 of the Clean Water Act, the “Treatment As State” provision, which enables Indian tribes to exercise rights and obtain privileges under the Clean Water Act in the same manner as states are able to. The article details the evolution of section 518 and the evolving nature of tribal jurisdiction over nonmembers and the Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretation of the statute. The EPA’s failure to acknowledge either the statute’s affirmation of tribal sovereignty or the statute’s clear delegation of federal authority to tribes has created uncertainty leading to inaction on the part of the EPA, tribes, and states. The article proposes a compromise: removal of tribal enforcement actions to federal courts enabling enforcement of tribal law while allaying fears regarding potential inadequacy of tribal courts
Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law
Tribal Sovereignty over Water Quality,
J. Land Use & Envtl. L.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.buffalo.edu/articles/186