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Maine, Feds Argue Over Tribe Water Rights

By Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine — The fight over who has oversight of Maine tribal waters remains contentious as the state continues its two year-old lawsuit against the federal government.

The Environmental Protection Agency filed an Aug. 4 brief accusing the state of trying "back door" legal maneuvers to get the courts to overturn an EPA decision calling for higher water quality standards in Indian waters in Maine.

Maine Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills says the state’s standards are some of the most stringent in the nation, and argues the EPA overstepped its boundaries when it rejected those rules.

The controversy dates back to 18th century treaties and a 1980 settlement of tribes’ claim to perhaps two-thirds of Maine’s lands. A 1979 law said some tribal members may hunt fish for their sustenance.