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Gila River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Arizona

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The community is working on a plan to regulate air quality on its lands. "The community is very committed to protecting human health and the environment, and the air-quality program is one of the first in the United States in Indian country," said Patricia Mariella, executive director of the tribe's Department of Environmental Quality. About 45 industrial facilities within the community emit air pollutants that face federal regulations that will be enforced by the tribe. The tribe has already taken steps toward limiting air pollution. It banned open burning in 1995. The community allows yard waste burning, but only if a permit has been authorized by the Department of Environmental Quality. Applicants are encouraged to only burn during those hours of the day when the air is less likely to transport the smoke to other areas. Furthermore, most households within the community have been converted from wood burning to natural gas and propane. The tribe sought public comment on what should be included in its air quality plan.