"From economic development to water, Arizona's tribes are playing bigger roles in the state.
The latest advance is the Gila River Indian Community's comprehensive air-quality program.
This is the first time that any tribe in the country has taken responsibility for everything from issuing permits to monitoring pollution to enforcing standards.
The only task still left for federal authorities, who typically oversee air quality on reservations, would be approving an unusually large source of emissions, such as a major power plant.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave final approval to Gila River's plan on Wednesday, praising it as "unrivalled nationally in both breadth and depth" and a model for other tribes."
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Editorial: Gila River tribe is stepping up
(The Arizona Republic 1/20)
Press Release: EPA approves nation’s most comprehensive tribal air quality plan
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