Obama Administration Overrides Congress By Giving Wyoming Town Over To Indian Tribe

By: Kristin Tate
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President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently overrode Congress by declaring a Wyoming town called Riverton a part of the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The EPA made the decision last month along with the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice — it has angered many of Riverton’s citizens. Gov. Matt Mead said that by declaring Riverton was a part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, government agencies violated tribal boundaries set by Congress in 1905. He said, “My deep concern is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law. This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?”

The San Francisco Gate reported, “The EPA addressed the reservation boundary issue in its decision last month that granted an application from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. The tribes had applied to have the reservation treated as a separate state under the federal Clean Air Act.”

Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael is asking the EPA to reconsider the ruling. In a statement, he wrote, “The EPA not only reached the wrong conclusion, but the agency also employed a fundamentally unfair and skewed process, to the detriment of the state and its citizens, in pursuit of its predetermined objective.”

Many of Riverton’s citizens feel that the EPA’s decision is unjust. Since the town has been turned over the tribes, it is no longer eligible to receive state services or local law enforcement.


Officials and citizens alike complain that the EPA was not diligent in communicating with the groups most impacted by the change. Senator Leland Christensen said, “This is an alarming action when you have a federal agency step in and start to undo congressional acts that has really been our history for 108 years … With the stroke of a pen without talking to the biggest groups impacted — and that would be the city of Riverton and the state of Wyoming.”

Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and Mike Barrasso, with Rep. Cynthia Lummis, wrote in a statement, “The EPA’s decision has in effect overturned a law that has been governing land and relationships for more than 100 years. We are also very concerned about the political ramifications this decision could have for the tribes and the state of Wyoming.”

For now, Mead has ordered that state agencies and citizens go about “business as usual.”

We will keep you up-to-date on this situation as news breaks.

Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

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Kristin Tate is a multi-media reporter for Breitbart News and BenSwann.com. Dedicated to fearless journalism, she regularly works on undercover stings with James O'Keefe to reveal government waste, abuse, and fraud. Tate was a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) Chapter President and Founder. She will continue to fight tirelessly for individual liberty and free markets through new media. Visit Kristin's website at www.TheLibertarianChick.com.

  • Liberty or Death

    Do NOT ask for reconsideration……NULLIFY!!!!!!

  • http://socklint.com/ socklint

    Under the 10th amendment, where is the justification for the EPA? How can an executive administrative organization simply override the law as passed by congress? Let’s assume that they can do that. If it is lawful for them to simply bypass a congressional act, it logically follows that it is lawful to blow them off as well. If they say that what is being done there is outside of their bureaucratically established regulations, then you have a more incontrovertible standard from which to work: the Constitution.

  • Nate

    The dark background and white text make it difficult to read your articles.

    • LoneWiseMan

      Uh, no. Unequivocally no.

      White backgrounds are completely idiotic.

      The font, however, could be changed. That would help with legibility.

      • Rework Oh Ryan

        It’s not so bad in the parts where there’s actual blue faded into the background, but straight white on black hurts my eyes.

        • LoneWiseMan

          That I could understand. The faded part is okay.

          Although a proper font would be ideal.

    • Jayne Cobb

      Agreed. While a dark background denotes a classier feel typographic theory 101 demonstrates that black text is easier to read on a white background as opposed to the opposite, white on black.

  • GearheadZ Mechanical

    about time they gave some land back to the indians!

    • kleebright

      Something tells me you would be singing a different tune if your house happen to be on this land.

      • GearheadZ Mechanical

        probably not. There is such a thing as just compensation. Either the new owners would have to buy out current interests or simply be governed by the new owners, either way I would much rather a native people with respect and care for the land get my tax money than the united states of corruption!

        Proud Caucasian supporter of The A.I.M.

      • Wayne D.

        I’d be jumping for joy if I my property was annexed into an Indian Reservation, correction, Native American homeland.

  • Ryan

    Looks like a win for Liberty! The federal government is recognizing a new state, a peoples’ right to Live under their own state.

    We complain that we’re trapped in the tax system on the land our fathers fought for / built. Then we complain that other people have been freed of it.

    • Gregg Braddoch

      ^ This isn’t a win for liberty. A win for liberty would be the citizens of said area creating a new state – The EPA moving boundary lines that have been around for over 100 years is merely the federal government saying “hey, BTW citizens, we get to decide whenever we want where your state boundaries are – If we don’t like your environmental policies, we will move your boundary til your state is gone.”

    • Haf & Half

      If you own a home or business in that town, the deed will be changed. It will belong to the tribe. Sounds like you can remain but if you ever leave the property will not be yours anymore. Going to take a ‘Philadelphia Lawyer’ (my old Native American Uncle used this term, hated lawyers) to get this all figured out.

    • kleebright

      You have a different definition of liberty than I do, apparently.

  • tkw072

    They should rejoice. They are now living on SOVEREIGN native land. They don’t city (government) law enforcement.

    • k

      Until they find out their deeds are no longer valid under current law.

    • g.johnon

      nope, its federal land now.

      • LibertyChick

        Ahhh…. I think you nailed it. Underneath the veil of returning it to Natives they are returning it to the Feds. Something they are doing all over America under the guise of Agenda 21. Their intention for the future is to have us stacked and packed in high rises with only the very rich able to buy a house and car and escape the mega cities. Check out Seven50 in Florida – there’s a version of this going on in every state…
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3rGwpyNwnY

  • vigilannie

    What a bunch of BS…..Mead better fight this….nullify the FEDS!!! Abolish the EPA and the rest of the unconstitutional agencies……….

    • k

      Mead is a spineless noodle. His tough words are as far as he will go, judging by his passed.

      • LoneWiseMan

        Past.

  • Karolyn

    The EPA along with just about every single department is not even constitutional. Our government, for too many years, is side stepping the Constitution and they need to be treated that way. That States MUST start nullifying the laws that the government is passing that is not mandated in the Constitution. The government actually has very little authority according to the Constitution.

  • tkw072

    Does this have anything to do with the Republic of Lakota?

    • k

      No, the Republic of Lakota is further north, along the Canadian border..

    • jt2004

      Nothing to do with the Lakota. We are talking about the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes. And as a resident of Riverton I have already seen crime start to go up and people are starting to close businesses and move out of town. Either way the Supreme court decides it is not going to be good. If they decide Riverton is reservation then many businesses will close ( no alcohol will be able to be sold in town)and many more people will leave. The other thing is this is Wyoming and if someone is forced off there land they are going to fight to keep it and most residents own many guns. If it remains a town then the Indians are going to be angry and when that happens, they tend to burn down peoples homes (destroy what you cant control). You can ask the people in town we have seen it and I am good friends with some of the Arapaho Tribe.

  • Bill Goode

    Since when does the EPA have jurisdiction over Indian Reservations? More unconstitutional nonsense coming from the Obama administration. Question is do the citizens of Riverton still have their property, or has their property been handed over to the Wind River tribe?

    Assuming Riverton citizens still retain their property, this would be great for them. No more gov’t regulations. They will be under tribal law, which they did not choose, but may well be better off – no Obamacare, no Common Core, no OSHA regulations, no building codes. The tribe sets its own laws & regulations.

    • Draken

      It wasn’t so much that the EPA decided this, as an action before the EPA brought this about. The Department of Interior is in charge of dealings between the US and tribal lands. The Tribe requested a variance from the EPA arguing that the the land was tribal land, thus not under the control of EPA regulations. The EPA asked the Dept of Interior what to do, and based on the Dept of Interior the EPA made a ruling on the request for a variance.

      This city has also been contested for at least three decades. Back in the 1980′s the Wyoming State Supreme Court found that Riverton was part of the reservation, then in 2008 the Wyoming State Supreme Court said it wasn’t.

      So the EPA does not have jurisdiction over tribal lands. The EPA is only involved because the Tribe brought a request to the EPA. The State of Wyoming can’t make up it’s mind as to if the city is on Tribal lands or not, but the Department of Interior (who is normally in charge of such things) seems to think the city is.

      http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/08/epa-overrides-congress-hands-over-town-to-indian-tribes/
      http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/tribe-claims-state-of-wyoming-changed-its-tune-on-epa/article_83480027-42b8-5ad9-bb90-6806f9e5f6dd.html

      • RedEyeJedi

        Way to shoot down the knee-jerk reactions

  • ChristCrusader

    Whaaaa?!
    Next will come returning TX and CA back to Mexico and Louisiana to France?

  • Wayne D.

    Yes, let’s abolish the EPA so corporations can have more freedom to rape our planet. They never clean up after themselves. 300,000 citizens in West Virginia can’t drink their water or even take a shower in their water because of a chemical leak from a coal plant today. That’s real freedom right? Ironically the company responsible is called “Freedom Industries”. What the frack?
    I’ll always stand up for the Native Americans who’ve had every treaty written, broken by the US government. The trail of tears is way too long. Nothing can repay these people for the loss of their culture, families and land, their past and their future, genocided. If you’re a Christian you might ask, “what would Jesus do?” (Not that I support Obama or the EPA) 108 yrs. is nothing compared to the time the Native Americans lived there.

    • Andrew Rusher

      Natives didn’t always live in America..they migrated here back when Russia was connected to Alaska…and theirs always winners and losers…not all tribes were good I’m 1/10 Sioux..some natives practiced slavery even prior to the “white man”, some natives tried taking other natives land…it doesn’t matter we are all human beings..stop being a racist and splitting the human race into sub groups based on color and background…

      SCREW my white ancestors, SCREW my native ancestors..who cares about race…this is the future…stuff happens..we can’t change the past…they lost their wars…drop the past….

      You act as if NATIVES were perfect, get real we are all HUMAN beings…and it really pisses me off I have to still use the words native, white, black, ect to describe humans because of people like you.

    • Jeff Anderson

      Agencies like the EPA do not protect us from any such thing. They provide cover, and limit liability for those who violate the property rights of others. As long as they stay roughly within the bounds set by Uncle Scam, they can poison you and never have to make restitution. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the USG blocked legal actions against connected companies and industries because, apparently, the needs of the many (for the product) outweigh the needs of the few (as they relate to health and property rights).
      Don’t fall for the lie that Uncle Scam, or any other government is on your side. Political means only achieve political ends. Political ends only benefit the politically connected.

      • karen

        I like your last two statements, sums the whole game up perfectly.

    • Influence Freedom

      We have an EPA, did it stop what happened to West Virginians? Are all those rivers, and other water ways being cleaned up because of the EPA. Do, corporations get to pay more, so they can just dump more? The EPA is not the end -all-be-all to safety, in fact they are pretty good at screwing things up and letting corporations rape the land.

      • Rowdy

        What else would you expect from a government agency? As always more corruption, greed, and control. That’s all.

  • Beverly Buckman

    EPA is a part of AGNEDA 21…THEY WILL TAKE ALL YOUR PROPERTY AWAY….ILLEGAL LAW PASSED BY BUSH AND CLINTON…READ IT BEFORE YOU SPEAK….BOOK….BEHIND THE GREEN MASK….TELLS IT ALL.

  • Michael Lopez

    To quote another perfectly stated comment by Greg Braddoch:
    ” The EPA moving boundary lines that have been around for over 100 years
    is merely the federal government saying “hey, BTW citizens, we get to
    decide whenever we want where your state boundaries are – If we don’t
    like your environmental policies, we will move your boundary til your
    state is gone.””
    Add
    https://www.facebook.com/DiscussAmerica

    • karen

      Not only state boundaries but national borders too, if we don’t like the rights afforded to you by the constitution we will just keep shifting the US border further in until we effectively curtail or remove your rights (and have a north american union as a result)

  • Bitter Clinger #305,744,342

    Reason #7,844 for secession! (or, more accurately called partitioning)

  • tick tack

    LMAO. Now they know how it felt for the Native Americans. Maybe Obama should do this with more towns around the nation, until Racism towards the Native Americans stop. .

    • LoneWiseMan

      Racism towards Native Americans? What? Nonsense.

      They’re lucky they have land and exist at all. Most of history is ridden with the conquered (through various forms) being completely wiped out, let alone given massive areas of land and not having to follow our laws at all (e.g.: casinos).

      • tick tack

        Your comment is a prime example of racism. Not only that, but Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate genocide. Why not just make a holiday for Nazis killing Jews?

        • LoneWiseMan

          I don’t think you have a clue what the term racism even means.

          Try using your brain and type out another response that makes sense.

          • tick tack

            Nazis killing Jews isn’t raciest? Colonials killing Natives with no reason isn’t raciest? Celebrating Genocide isn’t Raciest? You sir need to learn what Racism is.

          • LoneWiseMan

            raciest, lol

          • Liberius Lucanus

            You cannot argue with a fool.

          • Draken

            Well you can, but you won’t get very far…

          • Liberius Lucanus

            Because they always believe themselves to be correct no matter the cost.

          • tick tack

            And you think Genocide and land steeling is a good thing? A little justice is awarded to the Natives and you want to take that away from them, again? That is what the real issue.

            Obama is giving land back to them. It’s not a big chunk compared to the Land that was stolen. And women and children died over, that is what it is to be a real Savage.

            People where taught that the Natives where savages, yet they Never killed the Women and the Children. They didn’t commit Genocide. The Pilgrims did. If you would so boldly read your history books you’ll notice it was the colonials that shot first. I can see why the NSA said that the founding fathers would be considered terrorist today.

          • Michael Christy

            Learn real history and utilize critical thinking skills. Tribes were never defeated, and to stop the fighting were offered treaties. You do not offer a conquered people treaties.

          • Rowdy

            Total idiot. Treaties are the final step in almost any conflict. The only exceptions are when the losing side is completely annihilated, no need for agreements. Just be glad that you were offered a treaty and make the most out of it. Continuing to hate and plot against the conquering force will only cause more loss and killing. You would think you would have learned that by now. But I guess it is time for more lessons. Pucker up.

          • jrex

            Nobody wants to take anything away from anyone again. I don’t understand where you get the idea that Americans just hate Native Americans. Horrible, detestable, shameful, inexcusable shit was committed against them by a government that existed almost 200 years ago. None of those people is even alive today, and most of their values are gone, too. The only one in favor of taking anything from anyone again is you, where you say that Obama should continue giving back their land, taking it from the innocent people who currently have it.

            Nobody here is angry about the restitution; you need to understand that. People are angry that the president is getting away with doing it himself when there are laws of checks and balances in place to handle the situation properly, without the president becoming a dictator.

            It is not Obama’s right nor his place to give back the land. That is the duty of the legislative branch of the federal government. One man is not allowed to make all of the laws; the Constitution specifically protects against that. But he’s getting away with it, and THAT is what people are upset about. It’s actually nothing whatsoever to do with Native Americans.

          • karen

            I agree, while it might be tempting to view Obama’s actions in a Robin Hood light, it is simply not right. The end does not justify the means.

          • Rowdy

            NO land was ever stolen. conquest and spoils of war is not theft. Get over it you were not dedicated enough to your precious land to keep it. So shut up.

        • Slim_Strontem

          Actually, it celebrated “survival through individualism”, as opposed to the prior winters of “death through socialism”.

          • tick tack

            Actually Thanksgiving celebrates Genocide. That great full survival with the aid of the Natives on the first winter was reworded with Genocide, So ergo, Thanksgiving celebrates Genocide. Learning history is fun! Don’t sleep during class you might miss a thing or two.

          • jrex

            No… the genocide came afterward. Thanksgiving is to celebrate the harvest and harmony. Nobody is celebrating genocide, and just because one came after, committed by other people, in no way means that Thanksgiving has anything to do with it.

            I know you want to be so angry about it that you can’t accept anything that doesn’t mean current Americans actively hate Native Americans, but it just isn’t true, directly or indirectly.

          • Slim_Strontem

            I do my best studying while sleeping.
            —-
            Read Bradford’s diary. Plenty of online sources for that.

        • Rowdy

          You sir are an IDIOT

    • Buttcrack Obomba

      What do ‘white’ people living today have to do w/what happened in the 1800′s you POS?

      • NativeLand

        It has everything to do with the current state of affairs!

        • Buttcrack Obomba

          No it doesn’t you moron.

          • Draken

            Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We should not punish those of today because of the sins of their fathers, or forefathers. Corruption of the blood should not be recognized, but history should. We should always seek to learn how things came to be, so that we can undo past mistakes, and prevent future ones.

            So no, the ‘whites’ of today are not directly to blame for the acts of the 1800′s, but they certainly benefited from those actions. At the very least we should acknowledge such. That does not necessary mean reparations, or taking land from one to give to another. But it does mean understanding how we got to where we are.

    • Slim_Strontem

      Yeah, that would greatly help the stated cause, genius.

    • jrex

      You think it should happen again!? Wasn’t the first time horrible enough?

      You think the president should continue evolving into a dictator and ruining any chance for liberty and freedom this country ever had, so that people will “know how it felt” to be victims of an inexcusable atrocity… one that happened 200 years ago? I’m not trying to make light of what the government did to the Native Americans at all – I would never – but saying that *it should happen again* is literally insane and completely sadistic.

      You’re saying the current president should commit those same acts again, upon people who are also innocent this time, upon people who did not then and absolutely would not now approve of what happened to the Native Americans. I mean, it would be one thing if these were people who totally support the Trail of Tears, but there is nobody alive who does!

      You’re saying Obama should keep on overriding the Constitution and ignoring and laying waste to the laws that are in place to *protect* the people from just such acts by their government. And all for some kind of revenge over something that nobody alive today was ever any part of to begin with.

      That is just really defeating the entire purpose, isn’t it? Little bit of cutting off your nose to spite your face here, I think.

      • tick tack

        I sure do, and if we where talking about mexico I would be saying the something for what the Spanish did to the Aztecs. If this was Germany I would say the something for what happened to the Jews. It’s unfortunate for what has happened, but a little spark of justice for the Natives is a good thing. Don’t take it away from them again.

        • jrex

          So you really do think that governments should re-commit atrocities simply because they’ve been committed before. So that completely unconnected people can know what someone felt like centuries ago. Well, I can’t say I agree with you.

          You’re advocating the same thing that you seem to be so passionately against.

          Now I’m ALL FOR righting wrongs and undoing past mistakes, but there simply must be a better way than for the already out of control president to exercise even more power he doesn’t have, essentially to steal from innocent people AGAIN.

          Perhaps in 200 years time, the new dictator should follow suit, so that the next generations will also be taught not to have done it in the first place…

  • Slim_Strontem

    Yeah, go about “business as usual” to keep the taxes coming in. Dipsticks.

    Congress owns all of the agencies. They can stop the BS or go with it, but whining and bitching w/o effective action is pure hypocrisy.

  • jrex

    Surprise! Obama showing his contempt for Congress and the established laws of this nation yet again.

    • Draken

      I’m not too happy with the President either, but wouldn’t it be more effective to focus on hating what the President has done (or not done in some cases) instead begin upset at him for what some low level peon has done?

      Yes as the ‘boss’ of the Executive branch the President, under respondeat superior, should take some of the blame. But do you really think that Obama had anything to do with this directly? Personally, beyond appointing one or two department heads, I doubt the President had any knowledge of this until it made national news.

      This really isn’t so much an example of the President showing contempt for Congress, as it is the media reporting only half the story…

      The status of this city had been in dispute for decades, the State
      of Wyoming can’t make up it’s mind either. Back in the 1980′s the Wyoming State Supreme Court found that Riverton was part of the
      reservation then in 2008 the Wyoming State Supreme Court said it
      wasn’t. This decree from the EPA, was more of a side issue to a request from the Tribe to be exempt from EPA regulations. The Department of Interior is in charge of Tribal lands.

      I guess all I’m really trying to say is, hate the President for something he did, or failed to do, but don’t equate the actions of someone else to be the same thing.

      http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/tribe-claims-state-of-wyoming-changed-its-tune-on-epa/article_83480027-42b8-5ad9-bb90-6806f9e5f6dd.html
      http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/08/epa-overrides-congress-hands-over-town-to-indian-tribes/

  • Scott

    The Obama Administration is an enemy to this country and needs to be removed for crimes against the consitution… asap.

  • Michael Christy

    Of course when you don’t understand what is happening, you then assume, and let the hate overtake you. What is happening is nothing more than giving Tribes the right to exercise sovereignty with respect to their air space. In other words, if you plan on going into Riverton, Wyoming with the intention of polluting that beautiful state, you will have to submit your pollution plan to the Tribes. That is all it is about. The government is not taking your land, the government is not taking your guns, and Riverton is going to remain part of the United States. Nothing is going to change. Get the facts, and an education.

    • jrex

      It’s not really about that so much, at least not for many of us, so much as it is yet another example of Obama overstepping his bounds. I don’t think anyone is pissed off about trying to right the horrible wrongs that were done to the Native Americans. Nobody here hates Native Americans or the idea or practice of trying to repay them. The president is nullifying the entire legislative branch.

      What people are angry about, and what they’re so afraid of, is that Obama continues to so sneakily evade impeachment for disobeying the Constitution and abusing presidential power that he does not have, by using executive orders and other methods of evading constitutional lawmaking practices while not *directly* harming any person in a quantifiable way. He’s becoming a dictator, quickly, doing away with the necessity of checks and balances, and he’s doing it in such as to prevent being impeached for it.

    • Jake77

      The EPA and Obama are not legislators and do not have the power to “overturn” law. That is what a dictator does. Obama is not above the constitution and he is not above the law. Unfortunately there are apparently millions of Americans who through indoctrination by the school system and the media have come to believe otherwise. It is really a shame that so many don’t understand the basic functions of the branches of government.

  • Rod Van Mechelen

    There are two issues here: government overreach and the hypocrisy of raising a ruckus when tribes act like any other state or municipality.

    I am a Ron Paul Republican, I voted for Ron Paul the first time he ran in 1988. I was at the LP Convention in Seattle in 1987. And I also served from 2002 – 2012 on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council. So I have some familiarity with what’s really going on, here, and why, as Sherman Alexie noted several years ago on the Michael Medved Show, that “Indians vote Democrat but live Republican lives.”

    Government Overreach: In a libertarian world you could spew all the toxic chemicals you wanted as long as they do not pollute your neighbor’s property. If you do, thereby violating their property rights, they can sue. But we don’t live in a libertarian world, so under the Clean Air Act “affected states” can submit recommendations regarding any proposed Clean Air Act permits within 50 miles of their border. The tribes in this case are now recognized as having the same status as “affected states” for purposes of the Clean Air Act.

    This brings us to the second issue. Where Libertarians will complain about the government overreach aspect of this, most Republicans will ignore that issue and complain only when tribes get in on the act. So we have the odd situation that most American Indians are very culturally conservative, and tend to be very traditional, which should make them a natural fit for the GOP, but they side with Democrats because Republicans keep attacking tribes for doing what almost every other government in the US is doing. It’s the hypocrisy.

    You want to attack the tribes for gaining Clean Air Act authority over the City of Riverton, fine, but stop being a hypocrite about it and attack the City of Riverton and all of the neighboring states for the same thing.