Approximately 2 percent of Wyoming’s population reside in the small city of Riverton in the heart of the state. That’s about 10.5K residents. Now, if a mandate of the Environment Protection Agency goes forward, those residents, along with others within a 1 million acre area, will officially be living on an Indian reservation.
In a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the State of Wyoming, through the Attorney General, claimed the EPA used incomplete facts and faulty legal conclusions when making its decision to change existing law and alter the boundary of the State and the Wind River Reservation (WRR).
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead begged the federal agency to change their tune. He said, “I understand that the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes have a different opinion about the Wind River Reservation Boundary. My deep concern is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law. This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?”
Congress diminished the Wind River Reservation in 1905 and the matter has been the subject of debate at times since then. In 1905, Riverton’s population was less than 500.
“It is crucial that the EPA stay its decision. We need certainty while this is reviewed by the EPA and while Wyoming continues to prepare a legal challenge to this decision as well. This is too important and too flawed a decision not to pursue every avenue possible,” Governor Mead said.