Senator McBroom offered the following resolution:
Senate Resolution No. 49.
A resolution to oppose the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community's application to regulate water quality and air quality under federal law on the L'Anse Reservation.
Whereas, The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is seeking federal approval to set water quality standards within the L'Anse Reservation and regulate activities impacting water quality through the water quality certification process under the federal Clean Water Act. The community is also seeking to be treated the same as a state for the purposes of receiving federal funding for air regulation and submitting recommendations on air operating permits issued by the state of Michigan and other states; and
Whereas, Approving these requests would inevitably lead to unreasonable consequences, a patchwork of regulations, and be inappropriate for non-tribal property owners within and outside of the reservation borders. This is a significant concern given that the reservation boundaries encompass approximately 59,071 acres of land, of which only 35 percent (20,427 acres) are tribal lands; and
Whereas, The state of Michigan already has in place strong water quality standards to protect state waters. The state has designated that all state waters should be safe for fishing, swimming, and other uses and support native aquatic life and wildlife. The state has established—and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved—scientifically based water quality criteria that ensure these uses are preserved; and
Whereas, The state of Michigan has administered for decades permit programs that protect the air and water for all Michigan residents. Michigan has been addressing air pollution since at least 1965 and issuing operating permits to protect air quality since the mid-1990s. Since 1972, Michigan has administered a permit program under state law that prevents discharges that would impair the designated uses of state waters. The EPA delegated authority to administer permit programs under the federal Clean Water Act to the state in 1973 based on these laws and has recently re-approved that delegated authority. This request by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community raises questions and concerns on how future permits issued by the state could be impacted, including wetland permits, permits for discharges into state waters, and hydropower licenses; and
Whereas, Approving the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community request would not improve air or water quality but would create an unnecessary layer of government bureaucracy and increase the regulatory burden on businesses, property owners, and the state. Regardless of whether the request is approved, the state of Michigan will continue to regulate activities impacting state air and waters within the reservation under state law. Michigan's programs are sufficient to protect residents and wildlife from pollution; and
Whereas, Approving the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community request would lead to jurisdictional conflicts between the community and the state related to control of activities on state-owned land within the reservation boundaries. These conflicts would involve complicated and not easily resolved legal questions regarding state versus tribal sovereignty. It would also raise questions regarding potential impacts to state-owned mineral rights within the reservation; and
Whereas, Approving the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community request would subject non-tribal property owners within reservation boundaries to the decision-making of a tribal government in which they have no representation. Only around one-third of the people living within the reservation boundaries are tribal members. Our nation was founded on the democratic concept that people should have a say and be represented in the government that impacts their lives; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate, That we oppose the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Lake Superior Band of Chippewa request for treatment as a state under the federal Clean Water Act and the federal Clean Air Act; and be it further
Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.