(Fremont County, Wyo.) – Both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes  have sent letters to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of a delay on implementing the EPA’s ruling that the tribes should have state status.

The most controversial part of the federal agency’s ruling is that it includes Riverton as being in “Indian Country,” despite court rulings to the contrary. The state has vowed to fight the ruling.

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe submitted its letter yesterday, Feb. 12, supporting a partial stay in regard to the December EPA decision supporting the Tribes’ treatment as a state. The Northern Arapaho Tribe has reportedly written a similar letter.

“Due to the amount of confusion it created in our communities, the misinformation about what EPA’s decision means and the hostility generated from that confusion, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe believes a partial Stay will help to smooth tensions on the ground while the governments and the Courts sort through the historical facts,” states a news release from the Shoshone Business Council.

“In many instances, the misinformation comes from people who have never consulted with the Tribe to discuss the purpose behind our TAS Application,” said SBC Councilman Wes Martel. The State of Wyoming communicated to the Tribes and asked for Tribal support for a partial stay for the benefit of all parties involved. At the start of January, the state asked the EPA to delay the ruling.

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe believes that supporting a partial Stay will not only ease tensions locally, but will then provide opportunity for the governments to not only communicate better, but possibly resolve some of the issues of concern.

See the complete letter below. More background on the situation can be found here.

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