USGS Wind River Reservation Boundary map showing the boundaries as the EPA (pre-1905) sees them.

(Riverton, Wyo.) – With several articles beginning to circulate nationally about the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act ruling putting Riverton within the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation, we thought we’d lay out some of the basic facts.

In a very small nutshell, the EPA ruled in December that the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation have “state status” for the purposes of air quality monitoring within their borders, and they also have an opportunity to comment on projects within 50 miles of the exterior boundaries of the reservation.

In its ruling, the EPA put Riverton, Kinnear and Pavillion inside the reservation’s boundaries, despite 1905 congressional action designating the borders and past court rulings to the contrary.

The ruling’s Federal Register listing is at this link, and from there hundreds of documents used in coming to the decision, including the boundary issue, can be found.

The state plans on pursuing court action about the ruling and this week asked the EPA to hold any implementation of the ruling for the time being. What remains to be seen is whether the courts will allow the EPA to change existing boundaries.
Short term there is no impact. Riverton has not been taken over by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Below is a list of articles on the topic in chronological order, from oldest to most recent.

Federal EPA Ruling: Riverton is part of Indian Country, 1905 law did not diminish Tribe’s claim; Wyoming to appeal

Fremont County to communicate with state on moving forward with appeal to EPA ruling regarding Indian Country boundaries

Sen. Cale Case: EPA ruling deals with air quality matters only; Taxation and criminal jurisdiction unchanged

Wyoming will not honor EPA decision changing State/Tribal boundary, Gov. Mead said today

Wyoming gives EPA Notice of Intent to Sue over Agency’s failure to act

Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation asks EPA to rescind Reservation Boundary decision

Wyoming to EPA: Place tribal boundary decision on hold and reconsider

Tribes, Legislators and Wyoming Attorney General’s Office talk future implications of EPA ruling