The Incredible Shrinking State

Sadly, the headline isn’t a reference to Washington DC, but Wyoming instead — which just got quite a bit smaller. Really:

Why is the EPA altering state boundaries in Wyoming – and reversing over 100 years of established law? Well, apparently the city of Riverton now falls under the jurisdiction of the Wind River Indian Reservation. This, obviously, isn’t sitting well with the governor’s office – which is urging the EPA to reconsider its ruling and respect the rule of law.

Reacting to the decision to reduce the size of Wyoming by about a million acres, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead warned of the dangers to all Americans of this type of unilateral land redistribution by the EPA:

“I understand that the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes have a different opinion about the Wind River Reservation Boundary. My deep concern is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law.


The relevant part of the Constitution is Article IV, Section 3:

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The language seems iffy, but transferring lands from Wyoming to an sort-of autonomous Indian reservation could certainly be construed as erecting a new state from parts of another. Certainly it seems to go against the spirit of the language.

What do you think? Is the EPA screwing a red state because the Founders didn’t strictly prohibit it?


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