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Native Americans to breathe air as clean
as anywhere else in the United States


FOR RELEASE: FEBRUARY 19, 1999
EPA ISSUES FINAL RULE TO PROTECT AIR QUALITY FOR NATIVE AMERICANS

Taking action to help attain its environmental justice and Indian Policy goals, EPA today announced a final rule to insure that Native Americans breathe air as clean as anywhere else in the United States. Amending a 1996 final rule, EPA has clear authority to carry out a federal air permits program in Indian country, a definition which includes Indian reservations, Indian dependent communities (federally-supervised land set aside for the use of Indians), and Indian allotments (land allotted to individual Indians that is still held in trust by the federal government, whether the land is on a reservation or not). EPA will administer the program until Indian Tribes develop and fully adopt a program equivalent to the federal one. The permits program also ensures that Indians have access to information about air pollution in their communities, thus enabling them to get involved in decisions affecting their health. EPA will also provide technical support and assistance to Tribes to increase their expertise in administering such programs. The majority source affected is the natural resource industry, including timber processing, natural gas compressor stations, and power plants. Today's action will appear soon in the Federal Register, but can be read immediately on the Internet under "Recent Actions" at website: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg. For further technical information, contact Candace Carraway of EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at 919-541-3189 (carraway.candace@epa.gov).

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