In a startling revelation by the federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that the City of Riverton has been part of the Wind River Indian Reservation for the past 108 years.

The revelation came to light after a five-year wait for the approval of an application by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to gain state status for administering air quality on the reservation. The decision won't only affect environmental policy. It's likely to bring about broad changes to how the governments of Riverton and Fremont County function.

The tribes’ motivation for filing the application was twofold: getting more federal money to monitor air quality on the reservation and winning back land that had been opened up to non-tribal members thanks to a 1905 federal law.

The tribes were able to use a piece of the Clean Air Act to win the ruling.

A part of the environmental legislation allows tribes to file applications as a state in order to delineate boundaries and receive higher levels of grant funding for monitoring their air quality.

States — or in this case, the tribes — must monitor up to 50 miles beyond any boundary demarcating land monitored under the Clean Air Act.

Because the reservation surrounds Riverton, federal agencies found that the city falls under the jurisdiction of the tribes.

The EPA along with the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice conducted thousands of pages of studies to come to a conclusion on the boundaries, said Mark Howell, Washington spokesman for the Northern Arapaho tribe.

The ruling draws questions about what local and state government will do in the wake of the decision.

The biggest concern is what will constitute criminal jurisdiction for tribal and non-tribal members.

In most cases, nonnative members cannot be prosecuted in tribal courts if they commit a crime on the reservation. Tribal members who commit a crime off the reservation are obliged to go to state and federal courts.

The state has been opposed to changing the boundaries since the application process by the tribes began.

A 2009 letter from former Wyoming Attorney General Bruce Salzburg to the EPA criticized a potential boundary change.

“Wyoming believes that the tribes’ proposed exterior boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation are inaccurate. The boundaries, as proposed, include lands which were ceded by the tribes by congressional act in 1905 and not restored to the tribes by subsequent acts of Congress.”

In August, Gov. Matt Mead sent a letter to then-EPA head Gina McCarthy about his concerns.

He called the proposal “extremely problematic.”

“The tribes' application if granted has implications for criminal law, civil law, water law and taxation,” Mead wrote. “It also takes away the voice of citizens in Kinnear, Riverton and Pavillion.”

Howell assured all parties involved that the tribes want to sit down with state and local officials to work out a solution.

Nothing is going to happen overnight, Howell said.

“(Today) criminal jurisdiction doesn’t change,” he said. “We’re all at status quo. Tribes requested that because they want to be good neighbors and good friends and work in cooperation with state, county and federal governments.”

The relationship between the tribes and Riverton hasn’t always been pleasant during the past century. But city council members seemed optimistic about the ruling.

A new application of federal tax law will be beneficial to Riverton. Now that it's on the reservation, Riverton businesses that hire tribal members will get payroll tax credits for hiring native employees.

“These tax incentives could have wide-ranging effects for Riverton business owners and for tribal members looking for jobs in Riverton,” Councilman Ron McElroy in a media release said.

Tribal officials were elated with the decision.

“It affirms what the tribe has believed all along, that Riverton and the area north of the Big Wind River is a part of the reservation,” Darrell O’Neal Sr., chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said in a news release.

(30) comments


This is laughable. First, the idea that tribes actually give a flying rats behind about their air quality is blatant B.S. The tribal council's and businessmen will use that money to line their own pockets, as they do with every other federal program. You think Riverton is bad now? Just wait until it's flooded by all the enrolled tribal members that will take advantage of all the cheap housing when all the hardworking land owners have their property values decrease by 50%. All of the bars will be shut down so the Indians will go to Lander and turn it into as big of a craphole as Riverton was before it got even worse.. This whole place will be a giant trashcan if any of this actually gets validated by a legitimate court. Stop pretending like the Indians want whats best for the community....they want instant gratification before all of their government handouts run out.


The key point is "validated by an legitimate court." This thing is going to be tied up in court for a long long time.


spoken like a true racist, a true wyomingite

Hill Town Trader

Although the language above is regrettable, the impact of the Reservation rules on businesses (TERO) will have VERY negative affects on Riverton and the surrounding ranch areas. Being forced to hire or buy from folks simply become they are tribal members rather then qualified will send businesses flying.

Completely Fed Up

Oh, my, my fellow whites down the road must be in quite a stir. Maybe they'll keep their racist comments and attitudes to themselves a little more now. And, guv'nor, aint a thing you can do about it.


Actually the Governor can do something, and he already did. The EPA overstepped their charter. It takes an act of Congress to say Riverton is part of the WRR. This is going to be in court for a long long time. Maybe long enough for you to learn what the world racist actually means. Saying that Riverton isn't part of the WRR isn't racist, its law.


congress already did say it, ONLY CONGRESS CAN DIMINISH A RESERVATION BOUNDARY..AND IT MUST DO SO EXPLICITLY. the Boundary was already approved and ratified by congress in 1868 by the treaty. that boundary was not diminished by congress in the 05 fact the lands were still held in trust and for the use of the tribes until a parcel was 1938 congress again explicitly restored all UNSOLD LANDS BACK TO THE TRIBES WITH FULL RIGHTS

Kool Kat

Attn Fed up, there are certain sections outside of Riverton that whites or non-indians can go in those native inhabited areas. The same areas that the tribes were unjustifiably given. These are areas developed by non natives and rented to native.
Whats most fascinating is, (assuming you're Indian) that many Tribal members who work and do well in life do not look for recognition but, living side by side with non indians. Your comment comes across as a very racist Indian using words as "whites" while calling those same whites racists.

Face it, most whites are not racist, but you're a bigot towards anything non-indian.

Completely Fed Up

Bad assumption. I've heard too many racist comments by my fellow whites to buy any of what you're trying to peddle. Face it, most whites ARE racist, and have been for decades, and generally toward anyone who has a different pigmentation in their skin. We try to cover it with a veneer, like you do, but it's there, in spite of what you may believe, or pretend to believe, or perhaps, simply peddle to make yourself look good ... and wise.

Kool Kat

Your either lying about my assumption or a complete nincompoop.
You keep using "whites" like you have indian decent in you and in your thought.
But I do know by your words, you're a "racist - bigot", and I'll leave you with that.


Yes, I'm sure the truth sounds very racist.

Completely Fed Up

And, to which "truth" do you refer? The truth of the willfully ignorant?

Sam Parks

This land belonged to the tribes all along. It appears both the EPA and the Department of Interior agree. This is a great victory for justice and it's about time.

Kool Kat

Whats next - a shoot out forced by the Indians on the non-indians?

Hill Town Trader

Having read the briefs for an against the TAS application, I tend to agree - but one can not ignore 108 years of subsequent investment by the land owners and business owners. Theory is lovely, but what of the rights of the 15,000 or so folks who were just disenfranchised?


"Because the reservation surrounds Riverton, federal agencies found that the city falls under the jurisdiction of the tribes." ....... Are you kidding me??? What right does the EPA have to make a ruling like this??? The EPA has been out of control for years, this is another example of an agency gone wild. I hope the city of Riverton and the State don't let them get away with this bogus ruling.

And why do they need an air study?? The air on the rez is some of the cleanest in the US. The reason is so they can get big sums of grant money (from hard working taxpayers) on the rez to do a so called "Study" when all it will accomplish is costing the taxpayers throught he nose and lining the pockets of a few who are on "the take". What a joke!!!

Then when they are done with their "study", the EPA will shut down all wood burning stoves in Fremont county because their bogus study says that's what is needed.

Completely Fed Up

When all is said and done, the state of Wyoming has very little power in the overall scheme of things, let alone the city of Riverton, irrespective of the inflated white egos that exist in both. Ever looked down from Sinks Canyon and seen the horrid brown summer air over the Wind River basin? That aint all dust.

Kool Kat

In the driest years, yes you see "brown" over Riverton, Casper and Shoshoni Wyoming, just to mention a few communities. And when it very windy, you can not see the Wind River Basin, Casper or Shoshoni, with even less clarity.
Some of that brown is Al Gore's cow, horse and tribal trash emissions you see when the winds do not blow. I know, I've come to Riverton to smell trash burning in a breeze coming from the south of Riverton. Therefore it has to be Riverton's fault in an Obama fashion?

What was it, 16 or 18 years ago when this same stunt was pulled on Riverton over water pollution and another agency awarded Riverton to the Tribes. Then Congress got involved, reversed that decision and scolded the Federal Bureaucracy for their over reach as well.
I can see why the Tribes have done this, Obama hates conservatives and Riverton has a great abundance of conservatives. And since the tribes are mainly social democrats, why not enslave "conservative whites to the tribes", courtesy of Obama.

Most likely cause Mead just rejected ACA/Obamacare infusion to Wyoming's medicaid for its expansion under Obamacare. This is not hard to see in relation.
What strikes me the most is, why indians ask for tolerance and even demand it, but show no tolerance with their neighbors, across the "boundary Big Wind River"?

Kool Kat

Attn jr2jr2000, only the Congress can make determinations like this.
US-EPA is nothing a but a Bureaucracy under Obama and does not establish laws or who belongs to whom. The Obama Administration most likely used this decision based off Gov Mead's decision not to partake in ACA/Obamacare expanded Medicaid coverage.
You might say that bureaucrats over stepped their bounds cause of the rejection Mead gave Obama's unpopular law. Meantime causing a decision to stir up the tribes and media.

This was attempted once during the Clinton years when Congress scolded another bureaucracy for doing the very same thing with water. They were beaten back then, just like this will be beaten back as well.


stupid is as stupid does forest...I mean jr2j2000

nothing in there ever states riverton falls under tribal states the boundaries of the reservation are intact...try reading and comprehension, it might help you

Hill Town Trader

Actually EPA relied on DOJ evaluaton of the underlying laws and caselaw. All of the briefs are online if you would like to read them.

DOJ threw its weight behind the tribal case against the Department of Agriculture pro-porting discrimination in farming loans. $millions is being handed over to the Tribe, which will be distributed to tribal member (but not used to create a tribal agriculture bank or support agriculture on the vast unused agricultural areas of the reservation.)

Given that DOJ has unlimited taxpayer money and has shown its hand in two major cases, one can assume that all tribal claims going forward will be supported as well. Seriously, can Riverton business folks and ranchers win against the boundless resources of DOJ?

The appeals will go before the Tenth district court, notorious for liberal leaning. Supreme court is next, and very very expense.

brown bomber

what a victory for native americans and this reservation!! any coincidence those three counties "acquired" an armored vehicle on the exact same day?

Kool Kat

Now, by your words, do the Indian people own Riverton people as slaves or do the Indians get to confiscate Riverton and all its properties? As I seen no war in Fremont County, unless the Casino money that has kept tribesmen broke, have gone to lawyers and lobbyists, in preparation for war?
What day will the tribes evict the people of Riverton from Riverton and when will the gun fights begin for those unwilling, in the way you speak? Also why is there so much hatred for "white people" on the reservation enough to hurt your Riverton neighbors, coming from?

Isn't this what the tribes have been asking for - tolerance - but yet, your words sound so vengeful with animosity. Have tribesmen demand to breeding with more white people, but were met with rejection? Please elaborate.
From what many of us seen; people in Riverton have been very friendly to out of town guests and native americans. Has that angered native americans that Riverton people are nice to everyone? This unconstitutional EPA ruling and your talk sounds like words of war brewing.


your an idiot koolkat...breeding or upbringing is the question why?

Kool Kat

I know you're native "thruth", so explain this ejaculate moment to the rest of us, what the tribes are so elated over? Lets see if you're wise enough to call me names?

Hill Town Trader

The overwhelming native american population on the reservation was about 10,000. The population of the "EPA" boundary area is about 25,000 and 60% non-native, I.e. whites are the majority - presenting a representation problem.

According to Rez rules only enrolled tribal member may vote for the Tribal Business Counsel members or set rules. This entirely disenfranchises the non-tribal residents. If the courts support one man-one vote, a dearly held concept, the tribal members will likely loose control of the reservation. If the courts support the tribal sovereignty, our constitution right just took it in the jaw.

In another part of the Rez rules, title X TERO, which governs business hiring and contracts within the boundaries of the reservations, business are REQUIRED to discrimate in favor of tribal members, irrespective of qualificaiton or cost. The is a discrimination law case waiting to happen.

It is not racism to point out that the tribal rules, if extended to the more prosperous areas surrounding Riverton, are highly racist. Please read the reservation rules and TERO. Would you want to have a business or live under such discriminatory rules?


Don't encourage no-minded trash talk. Many of these comments are really in poor taste.

Kool Kat

Here's the reported ruling (a state with in Wyoming)
Governor Matt Mead’s office was informed of the decision at 6 p.m. Monday night. The EPA had apparently transmitted copies of the decision to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes on Friday.

Mead had a strong reaction to the ruling: “The State received the EPA’s unpublished decision granting the Tribes “Treatment As State” status at a 6 p.m. meeting on December 9, 2013. The changes put forward by the EPA would not go into effect until this decision is published in the Federal Register,” he said. “It is outrageous to me that a regulatory agency has proposed changing jurisdictional boundaries established by history and the Courts. I have asked the Attorney General to challenge this decision and defend the existing boundaries of the reservation.”

In his letter last August opposing the application, Mead wrote: “”The tribes’ application, if granted, has implications for criminal law, civil law, water law and taxation. It also takes away the voices of citizens in Kinnear, Riverton and Pavillion.”

Riverton City Administrator Steven Weaver said city hall has already been receiving calls on the ruling. He said some tribal members, who were not identified, have been calling wanting their sales taxes refunded, while other city residents are enraged at the ruling. “This certainly doesn’t help the relationships we’ve been trying to build with the reservation,” Weaver said. He also reiterated what the governor had said, noting that the ruling is from a regulatory agency and pertains only to the Clean Air Act.

In a prepared statement, Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Darrell O’Neal Sr. said his tribe was “extremely pleased” with the EPA ruling. “It affirms what the tribe has believed all along, that Riverton and the area north of the Big Wind River is a part of the Reservation.”

Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett also reacted to the ruling this morning. “Until the U.S. Supreme Court says otherwise, it’s business as usual in my office.

This is definitely Obama's way of getting back at Mead for refusing Obamacare expanded medicaid, as this took place two days after Mead declined Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.


KK, only in your fertile imagination and feeble mind is this "Obama's way of getting back at Mead". Perhaps you should pitch this nonsense to the World Net Daily, they always print birther stuff like that.
Why would you copy and paste another article from this website? You need to remember that most readers are far more literate and computer savvy than you.

Kool Kat

Pops is right - poor taste.

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