"The idea that we need to rush headlong into another suit is just going to fatten lawyers' pockets," Vincent said. "Now the state needs to put on its big boy pants and come up here to work face to face with the tribes and get all this behind them."
"We all need to work together to protect our citizens and their children from the fear and suspicion inflamed by the state's petition," the business council wrote.
The EPA made the boundary decision after Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes applied for state status to receive more grant money and sovereignty in monitoring its air quality.
they are really declaring war against the tribes on the Wind River Reservation."
"The bill works to battle back against an overreaching rogue agency," said Rep. Nathan Winters, R Thermopolis. "It's time to stand up. The people are looking for their Legislature to stand up."
Former Riverton Mayor John Vincent asked the tribes to put the boundary decision on hold. He was mayor from 2002 to 2010, when the tribes and the state of Wyoming litigated cases on water rights, Indian gaming and the Voting Rights Act.
The legislation, House Bill 78,expands the state's ability to fightfederal regulating agenciesin court.
The tribe won all three cases, and the state spent millions of taxpayer dollars in legal fees, Vincent said.
legislation doesn't specifically name Riverton or the reservation, but lawmakers who spoke about the bill were quick to link it with the EPA's decision.
R Riverton, a co sponsor of the legislation.
Mead requested a $1 million appropriation for the account in his annual budget request. The Joint Appropriations Committee added $1.2 million to the governor's request. The Legislature will decide on the account's final amount in its upcoming budget session beginning Monday.
Nontribal members and businesses inRiverton will not be affected by the decision, Howell said.
State lawmakers introduced legislation that would earmark money for the state of Wyoming to fight the federal government over the Environmental Protection Agency's recent ruling that Riverton is part of the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Officials expressed concerns about the state's ability to conduct audits, inspect restaurants, incarcerate criminals, provide emergency services and protect children in need, among others.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the Northern Arapaho Business Council said it's asking the EPA to temporarily halt the decision to "calm the storm created by the governor and the attorney general."
If the EPA grants the stay, the tribes expect the state to file a court case by Feb. 18, Howell said.
Paying for the trial
Wyoming legislators want money to fight ruling that Riverton is on Wind River Indian Reservation
Only $300,000 was in the account as of Jan. 16.
Mead and Michael have raised concerns about the decision's effect on tax collection, property ownership, legal jurisdictionsandwater rights.
"It's not a good thing for our community," he said. "I wish this bill wasn't on our agenda."
Tension among tribal members and Riverton residents heightened in the wake of the EPA's December announcement about the boundary decision. The Northern Arapaho Tribe pointed to the legislation as one more indicator of the increased strife between tribal and nontribal members in Riverton.
State legislators are the latest group of government officials to challenge the EPA's boundary decision. State Attorney General Peter Michael and Gov. Matt Mead have criticized the regulating agency's decision. Mead asked Michael to file a lawsuit on behalf of the state in the 10th Circuit of Appeals. The state hasuntil Feb. 18 to file the suit.
If the new bill becomes law and the state decides to challenge the EPA ruling in court, the money to pay for litigation would come from the state's federal natural resource policy account, a kitty the Legislature created in 1999 for local and state government to litigate against federal air, land, water, mineral and property rights policy.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe slammed the bill as unnecessary saber rattling. "If it's passed, Nike Cortez White And Burgundy
On Friday, Northern Arapaho officials hoped to quell the rise in conflictby asking the EPA to temporarily halt its implementation of the new boundaries with a stay, which would puts the brakes on legal proceedings.
The EPA decision has driven a wedge between Riverton and the tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation, said Rep. David Nike Cortez Mens Custom Miller, Nike Cortez Black N White
The EPA received the letter and is reviewing it.
Lawmakers didn't outline an exact dollar figure in the bill, but the legislation highlights the "potential for an indeterminable expenditure" that could be "nominal or significant."
Michael asked the EPA for a stay in a petition released last month. The petition cited legal precedent and affidavits from state agency heads anxious about the effect of the EPA decision.
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