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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

Montana tribes seek to join court case over EPA water rights rule

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes joined six other tribes in defense of a new federal rule protecting their water rights in court.

The rule requires states to consider tribes’ fishing, hunting and gathering rights while crafting water regulations.

Twelve states sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the rule, which was finalized earlier this year.

Montana is not part of the lawsuit. Those states argue the federal government oversteps its power under the Clean Water Act and would severely limit their ability to craft water standards.

Seven tribes have filed a motion to intervene in the case. They say the rule is key to protecting “reserved rights,” which gives tribes the ability to hunt, fish and gather on lands they ceded to the federal government through treaties.

The tribes say the rule is within the EPA’s authority as it ensures treaties are adhered to.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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