• Other States Join Wyoming in Suit Over Boundaries of the Wind River Reservation
  • April 15, 2015
  • Law Firm: Holland Hart LLP - Denver Office
  • Ten states filed a joint amicus brief urging the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to employ a standard of review giving equal weight to the facts and legal conclusions presented by the EPA and Wyoming related to the EPA’s recent decision that Riverton and surrounding lands in Wyoming remain Indian Country. Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah all filed the brief with the Court of Appeals early in January.

    The states do not take a position on the EPA’s determination in late 2013 that the Wind River Indian Reservation was never diminished by federal action one hundred years ago. The EPA addressed the boundary issue in granting a request from the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to treat their joint reservation as a separate state under the Clean Air Act.

    The ten states’ briefing maintains that applying federal common law principles to historical facts is outside EPA’s area of expertise in administering the federal Clean Air Act. As a result, the Tenth Circuit ought to give the same amount of weight to Wyoming’s interpretation of the facts as it typically would to EPA’s.

    Governor Matt Mead appreciates the support of Wyoming’s sister states: “Wyoming—and no state—should have its sovereignty affected through federal agency action. The EPA is fundamentally wrong, and I am glad for the support of all these states in this matter.”