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Enzi, Barrasso start legislation saying Riverton not on rez

Apr 2, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are drafting a bill to clarify the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The move comes after the Environmental Protection Agency in December approved an application from the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes for treatment in a manner similar to a state (TAS) as part of the federal Clean Air Act.

In its decision document, the EPA said the Wind River Indian Reservation still includes areas that were opened up to homesteading through a 1905 Act of Congress. The original Riverton townsite is among the land ceded from the reservation at the time.

In their draft legislation, Enzi and Barrasso write that "the boundaries of the (reservation) shall be the diminished boundaries set forth in Article I of the Act of March 3, 1905."

Any land added to the reservation pursuant to an Act of Congress after that date also shall be considered part of the reservation, according to the draft bill.

The legislation does not impact the tribes' Treatment as State status for air quality purposes.

At the request of the state and tribes, the EPA has stayed portions of its decision in order to let local governments discuss jurisdictional implications of the ruling.

The state is challenging the decision in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, along with the City of Riverton, Fremont County government, Devon Energy and the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation.

Enzi and Barrasso cosponsored the EPA Employment Impact Analysis Act, which was introduced last week to block the EPA from finalizing any new major regulation until the agency analyzes the economic impact of its current air regulations as required by the CAA, according to a press release.

"People in Wyoming deserve to know exactly how EPA regulations will impact jobs in their community," Barrasso said. "Our bill will force the EPA to look before they leap when it comes to issuing more job-crushing regulations."

The legislation cites a number of cases in which the EPA concluded that a regulation would result in the creation of jobs, but the National Economic Research Associates Economic Consulting firm, using a "whole economy" model, reported job losses in the thousands.

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