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REUTERS US   -   By Laura Zuckerman
SALMON, Idaho Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:47pm EST

Our government ruled that over a million acres still belongs to to Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes. two sovereign native American tribes living on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The Wyoming governor Mead has asked the state attorney general to "Fight" U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 's decision.

Read why this decision was made. This was info passed to me by a friend, today. I haven't seen this in other places.

Originally posted to Bateach on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 06:58 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the diary. I hope you'll update us on (8+ / 0-)

    the case as it progresses.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 08:01:44 AM PST

  •  Glad to see the Native American Rights Fund... (11+ / 0-)

    ...backing the tribes in this matter.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 08:47:37 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the heads up nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LakeSuperior, chimene

    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

    by Patango on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 10:09:56 AM PST

  •  This is an important story with the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jasan, 6412093, kurt

    article's mention that the two Indian Nations would be granted authority as though they were a state.   What a recognition of the Indian air quality authority allows is for Tribal decisions re-designating the Wind River reservation as a Class I Prevention of Significant Deterioration area.  

    This area is presently designated as a Class II Prevention of Significant Deterioration area under the Clean Air Act, just like most of the rest of the United States.   However, if the Tribes chose to re-designate the area to a Class I PSD area, such a change can have profound effects on air quality both on the reservation and to some extent also to areas adjacent to such a Class I area.

    I don't know if the Tribes are presently planning to re-designate to Class I or not, but the recognition of the air quality regulatory authority of the tribes by U.S. EPA would always be a necessary first step to any future plan to make such a re-designation.

    There is a process and procedure for such re-designations from existing Class II procedures.  EPA has a role and the process is set forth in the Federal Clean Air Act at 42 U.S.C. Section 7474.

    A re-designation by the Tribe of the reservation to Class I means that new prevention of significant deterioration air quality permits for stationary sources of air pollution would only allow very small amounts of air quality deterioration and the area would also be better protected from adverse pollution effects on long range atmospheric visibility.

    On the other hand, a Tribe could also re-designate to Class III which would allow considerably more air quality deterioration than is permitted in most of the United States.

    Because of advances in air pollution control technology in the last two decades, new sources of large emissions have an easier time getting permitted because technologies such as selective catalytic reduction and fabric filters lead to much lower emissions and ambient air quality impacts than was formerly the case after Congress enacted the PSD sections of the Clean Air Act in 1977.

    It is entirely possible that the Tribes are not planning any PSD re-designations at all and they just want to have, use and exercise their own authority over air quality on their lands, just like other states and large federal land managers do.   Having air quality authority means that either the Tribe itself or in the alternative an EPA regional office would issue air quality permits, do monitoring and carry out enforcement...or some combination of these.  Some Indian Tribes just want to run ambient monitoring for National Ambient Air Quality Standards.  Others are more ambitious and want to exercise their governmental powers under the Clean Air Act.

    Some states tend to make these Tribal air quality decisions difficult.   Michigan and Wisconsin tried hard to defeat a Tribe's air quality authority decisions in Northern Wisconsin, for example.

    •  Thanks, LakeS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, LakeSuperior

      for your detailed explanation of the EPA's action and the consequences for the Tribes.  The local white politicians in Wyoming are trying to needlessly provoke anger and fear.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 12:17:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am wondering about water quality as well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, kurt

    as this area is not so far from Papillion, Wyoming.  That is where fracking has taken the underground water and made it combustible, so difficult to drink while you are in a room that may throw a spark of some kind.  There is also uranium exploration in those areas with drilling cores and so on.  The whites of course, are pissed as they are only concerned about the status quo.   Lets hope that the tribes are successful in this fight.  What can ordinary citizens do to assist?

  •  There's apparently a coal fired plant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and oil and gas exploration nearby that the tribes' designation could affect.

    Also, I am interested to see that only in Wyoming, the oil fields waste (produced) water, after treatment, can be dumped onto reservation lands.  The "produced" water I've personally seen was so black and stinky I thought it was crude oil.

    Jasan, the federal EPA's current position is that the (Pavillion) area groundwater is not polluted.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 12:31:28 PM PST

  •  correction (0+ / 0-)

    The July 2013 article said discharge of oil field produced waste water to land and surface waters  is allowed only in the West, not only in Wyoming.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 12:38:34 PM PST

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