Sunday, November 25, 2007

Upstate Tribe and Air Quality

Indian Tribe Get Air Pollution Voice

Associated Press
ST. REGIS INDIAN RESERVATION, N.Y. -- The Environmental Protection Agency has given St. Regis Mohawks a voice in enforcing federal air quality rules on the tribe's reservation in northern New York, following a five-year review.

The tribe's recognition under the federal Clean Air Act means New York state is now obligated to consider tribal comments on any project that might affect reservation residents.

Officials had done so earlier as a courtesy, said Ken Jock, St. Regis Mohawks' environmental division director.

Jock said the pollution from industrial neighbors drifts onto vegetation consumed by livestock on the St. Regis Indian Reservation along the Canadian border, causing health problems for both animals and humans.

"This may make someone a little bit less inclined to want to put polluting businesses in the area," said Gavin Lau, an environmental scientist with EPA's air program branch.

The Mohegan tribe in Connecticut has also applied for recognition under the Clean Air Act, as has an Arizona-based tribe, said EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez.

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