The EPA expanding the Wind River Indian Reservation's boundaries was a blatant overreach by the EPA. The federal government stealing money that doesn't belong to it, including PILT funding, will be an ongoing fight for states. These were just some of the comments U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., made in a video response to Wyoming constituents recorded this week. The video addresses a few questions the senator received during the past couple weeks through Facebook and Twitter, from phone calls to his D.C. and Wyoming offices, and from email and written letters.
EPA's decision on the Wind River Indian Reservation's boundaries
"This decision by an administrative agency is a great over reach, and it's one that nobody over in that area is going to wind up being happy with. The EPA reaches for authority that it doesn't really have. It changes law, and it can't. And as a result, it's gotten a lot of people upset.
"A lot of people haven't even figured out what's going on or that there's a 50-mile buffer around the reservation as well, and that includes Lander, Worland, Thermopolis, Pinedale, Dubois, and other towns; they'll wind up equally as concerned. The tribe is being used kind of as a pawn in this overreach by the EPA.
"We need to take a look at what the EPA does, and put some reins on them...The tribes will get some extra employees and some extra money, but the EPA will wind up making the decisions, and if they don't like their own decisions, they can appeal it and they appeal it to themselves. That's wrong, we're going to have to have more control from Washington on what the EPA does."
"The Payment In Lieu of Taxes funding is about fairness. Local governments are required to pay for services like sewer, water, streets, trash and other types of access...In the case of the federal government, they have admitted for years, for decades, that they needed to pay taxes too so that the services could be provided for the land that they use, and that was the Payment In Lieu of Taxes that they have always agreed to pay."
"Now since we are running out of money at the federal level the federal government is always trying to figure out ways to steal the money. In the actual budget deal they stole the money I started trying to collect that, and working with 19,000 counties and 49 states that are owed that money, some of which rely on that for 20 to 40 percent of their total budget."
"The problem has now been taken care of in the farm bill. That was the next thing that came through the House, and it will be the next thing to come through the Senate. And Payment In Lieu of Taxes is in there. That will take care of it for one year, then we will have to watch out, because when the federal government doesn't have money they are willing to steal it from Abandoned Mine Land funds, they are willing to steal it from federal mineral royalties, and Payment in Lieu of Taxes is right there in line too."
Senator Enzi records "Collecting Common Sense from Wyoming for Washington" videos every other week when the Senate is in session. He encourages Wyoming residents to continue sharing their thoughts, ideas, and questions and he will address as many of the topics as possible. For individual responses, constituents should email him through his web page -- www.enzi.senate.gov.