MAC: Mines and Communities

Tribal authority challenged denied

Published by MAC on 2002-06-04

Tribal authority challenged denied

Monday, June 4, 2002

The Supreme Court today refused to invalidate a Wisconsin tribe's power to regulate water on its reservation.

The decision lets stand a federal appeals court decision which upheld the "treatment as state" designation for the Sokaogon Band of Ojibwe. The Environmental Protection Agency granted the status under the Clean Water Act to allow the tribe to define its own water quality standards.

The state was opposing the designation, saying it was a "dramatic expansion" of the tribe's inherent rights.

The state also has an interest in a mine operation located upstream from the reservation which the tribe might now be able to scuttle with strict regulations.

For background see Mole Lake Clean Water Case

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