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Gila River Tribe Gets OK To Develop Water Quality Standards

The Gila River Indian Community now has the right to develop their own water quality standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday the tribe would have the same status as a state under the Clean Water Act. This means the tribe can set standards at, or higher than, federal drinking water requirements.

“This will allow the tribe to continue to build successful environmental programs," said Mike Stoker, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

The Gila River Indian Community joins 59 other tribes with the same authority — six of which are in Arizona.

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Claire Caulfield first joined KJZZ as an intern in 2015 and now wakes up before the sun to produce and report for Morning Edition. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2017 and covered education policy in the nation's capital, election night in New York City and Native American issues for Cronkite News/ Arizona PBS. Before joining the Morning Edition team, she also worked on a documentary about rap music in the deep South and directed a film on drinking-water quality in the United States.On the weekends, you can find Claire flying her photography drone or working her way through the Pulitzer Prize book list.