EPA seizes Wyoming town under Clean Air Act, but the State of Wyoming wants it back!
Please allow me to preface what's taking place in Wyoming with something that took place about 35 years ago when I was working as a supervisor for a security company.
There was a situation that took place regarding a security guard who would use what he thought was "his authority" to do things that had nothing to do with security.
And yes, because of what he thought he could get away with, he subsequently created a lot more problems than he was actually worth.
There were all sorts of problems which were usually small in nature and were usually be brushed aside by giving him a good talking to.
Of course all of the reprimands in the world didn't stop him.
Being his own worse enemy, he stepped over the line one night and actually attempted to sexually assault an employee of the company who worked for our client.
One of the interesting parts of this little story is that among those who were paying for our security services -- they were surprisingly split over what to do about the guard.
While both sides saw the conduct as being over the line and possibly even criminal, believe it or not, one group didn't want to get rid of that particular guard.
Their reason? Well, it was because the guard also made coffee for the office staff and did some other things that endeared himself to the client higher-ups.
So yes, while everyone knew the need for a guard to serve a basic security function, as surprising as it was, as hard to believe as it was, even though the guard had sexually assaulted one of their employees -- there were those in charge who wanted to keep that particular guard on board no matter what.
Of course, there were those, including the gal who was assaulted, who wanted the guard gone immediately!
The security company, who I worked for, was being hired "to provide a security guard" -- and so finally my company recommended that we simply replace the guard with another since the basic problem of security was still a concern.
After a great deal of kicking and screaming, the client's management wisely decided that a new guard would be better in the long run.
And yes, surprising as it may seem to some who know how businesses work, the security company wisely replaced that guard with one who was not abusive of his authority.
I will forever find it interesting how the split among that client's employees never healed.
You see, while the new guard did his job extremely well while strictly adhering to security problems, there were those who really wanted that old guard back -- all because he did special things for them above and beyond his duties.
Yes, no matter how much that guard abused his authority, no matter how he had assaulted that female employee -- some in her company actually defended him as being a "good guard."
This is the situation that we have with the EPA. The EPA is not a "good guard." And yes, the agency is its own worse enemy.
As I've stated in other articles, the reason is that the EPA has grown too large and powerful and is abusing its perceived authority in too many ways.
And like that no good guard, the EPA too is being protected by people who like what it does outside of its authority -- it fits their agenda even if what it does creates more problems and skirts legalities.
Among it's many crimes in years, last year the EPA illegally gave an entire town to an Indian reservation!
They have gone pass concerns over clean water and air, and have now abused their authority -- in fact, in many cases giving themselves authority they were never meant to have.
There are those like me who want to see the EPA gone, and maybe replaced with another entity that would strictly adhere to its true concerns.
The story below is another example of why the EPA is so dangerous and needs to go. It is another great example of the EPA operating unchecked -- and why they need to be dissolved and replaced immediately.
While the issue of reparations paid to Native American tribes is ongoing, many white citizens agree that the U.S. should offer concessions to the ancestors of those removed from their land by early settlers.
As with other tribes, the local tribe near Riverton have already been given the right to largely police and govern themselves on reservations.
And yes, believe it or not, some state and federal officials apparently believe they should also get land back which is already owned by American citizens -- some who have owned their property for 100 years or more.
Now in this outrageous decision, the Environmental Protection Agency took it upon themselves to decree that the West River Indian Reservation now has ownership of an entire Wyoming town of Riverton.
Along with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice, the EPA decided scrap the 1905 law and "give" the town of Riverton to the tribe.
Riverton is a city in Fremont County, Wyoming, United States, and should remain that way.
The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior and Department of Justice in early December 2013 declared Riverton to be under the jurisdiction of the Wind River Indian Reservation.
As crazy as that sounds, those agencies believe they have the "delegated authority" to do such a thing under some clause that authorizes this sort of craziness in The Clean Air Act.
In 2010, the city's population was 10,615.
The city is an incorporated entity of the state of Wyoming, on land ceded from the reservation in 1906, a situation that often makes it subject to jurisdictional claims by the nearby Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.
Imagine the craziness!
The EPA, yes the people who are supposed to be concerned with how clean the air and water is, just gave the town of Riverton, Wyoming, to a local Indian tribe.
In the petition, Attorney General Peter Michael said the EPA wrongfully concluded Riverton was on the reservation.
The regulating agency “employed a fundamentally unfair and skewed process, to the detriment of the state and its citizens, in pursuit of its predetermined objective,” he wrote.
Legal precedents in both state and federal court have concluded that Riverton is both on and off the reservation, making it likely that the case will wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
State officials have warned there would be severe consequences if Riverton became part of the reservation. Tribal officials claim the state’s warnings are nothing more than political pandering.
The petition is accompanied by 27 affidavits from state agency heads. Some of the testimony supposes drastic changes if the ruling stands. Agencies such as the Wyoming Highway Patrol would see little difference, according to the affidavits.
Joan Evans, Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, said the state would no longer have jurisdiction to conduct audits to assure Riverton businesses comply with worker compensation and unemployment laws.
Guy Cameron, director of the Office of Homeland Security, said tribes would be responsible for providing emergency services in the city of Riverton.
Dean Finkenbinder, consumer health services division manager in the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, said his agency would no longer be able to inspect restaurants and other establishments that handle food.
Establishments that need inspections “may have to go out of business,” he said.
Much of the testimony signals the state’s inability to understand the difference between land ownership and authority over a particular land mass or territory, Howell said.
If the EPA ruling is upheld in court, the state will have authority over non-Indians in criminal and non-criminal offenses in most cases, Howell said.
Indians would no longer be tried in state or local courts, he said.
Members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe tribes have championed the decision while residents of the City of Riverton have rebuked the EPA’s findings.
Since the EPA announced the decision in December, tensions have heightened between tribal and non-tribal members in Riverton and on the reservation.
Both disparaging comments and constructive dialogues have emerged on social media websites and comment forums of Fremont County news organizations.
When it took place, the State of Wyoming immediately decided to fight the EPA’s decision to give the town to the Indian reservation without the authority to do so.
Wyoming officials are now taking the EPA to court after ruling gives land to tribes.
On February 14th, 2014, it was reported that Wyoming is taking to EPA to court over land some are now saying is at the center of a dispute between Native American tribes and state officials.
Fact is, there would be no dispute if the EPA had not acted illegally in the first place.
Now Wyoming officials are taking the Environmental Protection Agency to court in a bid to reverse a sweeping agency ruling that transferred more than 1 million acres of land -- including the entire city of Riverton, Wyoming, -- to Native American tribes.
Wyoming Attorney General Peter K. Michael filed his state's appeal Friday morning before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
The state wants either the EPA to reverse, or the courts to overturn the EPA's December ruling on a request from the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes.
The tribes had sought "state status" in order to administer air quality monitoring.
The EPA, in the course of reviewing the request, determined the land in question actually belongs to the Wind River Indian Reservation and has for more than a century -- all despite a 1905 law opening it to non-tribal members.
Yes, the Feds ignored the law!
The decision, which encompassed the city of Riverton, caused intense controversy as officials warned about a range of disruptive consequences, including the possibility that jailed tribal members could now challenge their convictions.
Offering some relief, the EPA earlier this week agreed to put its own decision on hold at the request of the state and the tribes themselves.
The state was the first to ask for a stay, calling the decision "arbitrary" and "wrong." But the tribes followed suit, in the interest of soothing tensions.
In a Thursday letter to Gov. Matt Mead and tribal representatives, an EPA official confirmed the agency would put the decision on hold pending review, "due to the unique circumstances of this case."
The official said the agency "remains committed" to working with all sides in the dispute but noted that "in granting this stay, the EPA is not agreeing with or adopting the State's legal or factual arguments" over the boundaries.
The state made several arguments against the ruling, in a petition filed last month with the EPA.
"EPA's decision casts a shadow of uncertainty over the transactions and day-to-day operations of state agencies, courts, businesses and individuals within the disputed territory," Michael wrote.
He argued that the ruling could impact the area in several ways, including:
- Dozens of tribal members jailed for crimes committed "in the disputed area" potentially could challenge their convictions.
- Previously issued environmental permits could be invalid.
- Food processing facilities could be able to operate without regulation.
- The Wyoming Highway Patrol would be unable to enforce criminal laws in the area.
The EPA is still weighing the state's request to reconsider its decision. In the meantime, officials will press their case before the courts.
Northern Arapaho Tribe spokesman Mark Howell told Fox News earlier this week that while the tribe agrees with the EPA decision, it joined Wyoming officials in seeking a stay "in an effort to kind of quell some of the racial tensions that have been frankly generated by the state of Wyoming."
The EPA said that the stay will help ensure the case is "decided in an orderly fashion by the courts."
"We are encouraged that this approach will help alleviate tensions and areas of disagreement while providing all parties an opportunity to work together to implement EPA's decision and ensure environmental protection," Shaun McGrath, EPA's regional administrator, said.
The EPA's original announcement in December said the agency was required to rule on the reservation's boundaries under Clean Air Act and EPA regulations.
The statement said the agency did so "after carefully evaluating relevant statutes and case law, historical documents, the Tribes' application materials, all public comments, and input from other federal agencies."
The agency said the ruling was "consistent" with a recent opinion from the Department of the Interior, and it would "work closely" with the tribes and state to resolve any issues.
So in other words:
-- in the course of a request from the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes who were seeking "state status" in order to administer air quality monitoring per the Clean Air Act
-- the EPA in the course of reviewing the request determined that other lands outside of the area in question "belonged" to the tribes
-- and subsequently the EPA decided upon its own authority to give the land and city to the Indians
-- even though the EPA was in violation of the law when they did so.
Now the EPA is acting magnanimous and saying that they were just doing what is done on a constant basis while creating problems where there were none.
In December, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead responded to the brewing controversy with a resolute stance against the government intrusion.
“My deep concern in about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law,” he said.
The ruling was made in direct opposition of the 1905 Congressional Act, which established existing reservation boundaries.
“This should be a concern to all citizens,” Mead continued, “because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?”
Yes, where will it stop?
To say this is obviously upsetting those who call the community home is an understatement.
How can any state or federal government agency come in and simply give your city to another group of people who may now want to confiscate your home?
And what about those homes which may have been in your family for more than 100 years?
I cannot imagine how angry and worried I would be if one morning I woke to find out that my home is no longer a part of the city and county where I pay taxes and receive my city and county services - such as police and fire protection.
I can't imagine waking up one day and finding out that your town, your home, and your neighbors have all been given to others simply because the Federal Government felt like it.
That's the situation for the almost 11,000 residents of Riverton, Wyoming, since their town of Riverton was just given to a local Indian Reservation by the EPA.
Next it may be lands in Hawaii or California or Texas whenever and wherever the Federal Government thinks it has the power that it does not.
Can you imagine U.S. Marshals, the FBI, and Homeland Security showing up where you live and just evicting you off your property?
This act by the EPA sets a precedence that we should overturn and resolve as quick as possible.
If we don't fight this, well them let's just give the Federal Government blanket authority over every aspect of our lives - over our families, over our health care, our money, our property, our ability to defend ourselves, and even our ability to pray where and when we want to.
That's just how I see it.