Northern Arapaho receive grant to improve infrastructure
RIVERTON, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The USDA has announced over $2 million in grants will be invested into the Wind River Reservation. The money’s been granted to the Northern Arapaho Tribe that lives on the reservation.
Drone video provided by the Northern Arapaho Natural Resource Office shows a dump site in the Arapaho Great Plains, southwest of Riverton. The problem? It’s not an official landfill. It’s an illegal dump site. One of several on the Wind River Reservation. And for Lloyd Goggles, Chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, it’s heartbreaking.
“On the mountain... On the Elk Creek and Wind River Range... There’s more trash up there than I’ve ever seen in my life. Whereas historically, I believe, that the older generations, they all respected those areas. And, you know, they were actual stewards of the land.”
As environmental scientist Steve Babits explains... A policy change at the county has contributed to the illegal dumping.
“The tribes and Fremont County had an agreement. The tribes provided the waste containers, the transfer sites and the trucks. And the county picked those containers up daily or weekly. The county... I don’t know... They ran into financial difficulties, or whatever. They couldn’t make that work anymore. They started charging what they call a tipping fee. Where they weigh every ton of waste that came into the landfill. Charge $80″
Goggles adds, “You also have to take into account there’s a poverty level. There’s um... I think addiction... Substance abuse... May play into that a lot. Because... If people adopt a certain lifestyle that prohibits them... From, you know... Gainful employment.”
Of the $2 million grant the Northern Arapaho tribe is receiving... 1.4 million will go towards the Solid Waste Program... Managed by Theotis McCabe.
“The first major purchases are going to be two new compact trucks. The trucks that we have now were purchased with the original grant back (I think) in 2015-16. So those trucks are approaching high mileage. Frequent breakdowns.”
They hope to reach more people in more places... To alleviate the illegal dumping.
A little over $600,000 was also awarded to the Housing Authority to assist with water and sewer infrastructure improvements.
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