Environment | Opinion

Editorial: Cabazon Band must enforce clean air agreement

"Clean-air regulations should apply to businesses on tribal land as well as those elsewhere. So a Coachella Valley tribe made a promising step in agreeing to impose air quality rules on private industries operating on its reservation. But the pact’s effectiveness depends on the tribal government, which needs to back those good intentions with real enforcement muscle.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians last week reached an agreement to enforce clean-air rules on tribal land near Mecca. The pact calls for the tribe to apply 39 air quality rules to businesses operating in a 600-plus-acre industrial site on the reservation. The air district would inspect facilities, do testing and if necessary issue notices of violations on the tribal land. A tribal board, however, would review any violations, and the tribal government would handle any enforcement decisions.

The air district oversees air pollution regulations for Southern California but has no jurisdiction on reservation land, because federal law considers the tribes sovereign nations. The new pact works around that often thorny legal issue in cooperative fashion. And the agreement offers a good-faith pledge to surrounding residents in the wake of frictions over the past few years."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Clean-air equity (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 1/24)

Related Stories:
Cabazon Band reaches agreement to cover air quality rules (1/18)
Cabazon Band seeks to protect rights in enviromental flap (06/03)
EPA takes action against another business on Cabazon land (6/2)
Opinion: Jurisdictional issues and Cabazon recycling plant (5/12)
EPA takes action on recycling plant on Cabazon Reservation (5/10)
Residents demand closure of plant at Cabazon Reservation (4/29)
Odor at reycling plant on Cabazon Reservation stirs neighbors (3/28)

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