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An Environmental Protection Agency ruling on Native rights to regulate air quality has set the stage for a battle over the boundaries of Indian country in Wyoming. The EPA ruled last month that the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes should be treated in a similar manner to states under the Clean Air Act, granting Native populations the right to monitor air quality within 50 miles of reservations.
As part of the ruling, the EPA examined the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation and concluded that the town of Riverton in central Wyoming falls within reservation boundaries. A 1905 law passed by Congress opened up the land to non-Native settlement. The EPA's decision maintains that this law did not invalidate the reservation status of the land, contradicting past court decisions on the matter.