Legislator Says Tribes Should Not Take Lead On Reservation

Feb 24, 2012

With problems over water contamination in the town of Pavillion, and possible actions to remediate a contaminated uranium site on the Wind River Reservation,  tribal officials have pushed to be the lead agency in both situations, as the areas impacted are within the boundaries of the reservation and impact tribal trust assets.

However, Casper Senator Kit Jennings says it’s not a good idea for the tribes to take the lead on either one of those investigations for a number of reasons, especially in the case of Pavillion where Jennings believes the Environmental Protection Agency polluted its own wells and then blamed their mistake on Hydraulic Fracturing.

"It’s absolutely ridiculous what’s going on and I think its way above the pay grade of anybody over on the reservation," says Jennings. "I think it should stick with the governor and the state and work through what we need to do over there."

According to tribal officials, the Wind River tribes have civil jurisdiction over trust resources, like Pavillions water, and that they do not want their tribal sovereignty or jurisdiction degraded by being ignored by federal agencies.