by Ernie Over
(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – Governor Matt Mead informed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that he will not honor its decision related to the boundary of the State and the Wind River Reservation. Three days after signing the decision, the regional administrator of the EPA told Wyoming the EPA was granting the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes application for Treatment as a State. Treatment as a State gives Tribes access to grant funding for air quality monitoring, but the EPA decision also purports to re-interpret a 1905 Congressional Act and in doing so expand the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation.
“This decision goes against 100 years of history, involving over a million acres of land. It is not a decision that should come from a regulatory agency,” Governor Mead said. “I believe the EPA is in the wrong and I will not honor its decision.”
Governor Mead has instructed the Wyoming Attorney General to take aggressive action to prevent the EPA’s decision from adversely affecting our state. “There is no case law that supports the EPA’s position, while there is case law including a Wyoming Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s position that Riverton is not in the Reservation,” Governor Mead said.
The Governor also directed Wyoming agencies to conduct business as usual in terms of how they operate in Riverton. This directive covers, among other things, law enforcement, government services, regulation and recognition of the status quo in property ownership and water use.
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