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Wyoming Man Indicted for Clean Water Act Violations Affecting Indian Lands

Release Date: 01/23/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(01/23/04) John Hubenka, of Riverton, Wyo., was indicted on Jan. 14 on charges that he allegedly built unpermitted dikes in Wyoming’s Wind River in violation of the Clean Water Act. The indictment charges that between March 1999 and November 1999, Hubenka performed dredging and construction to build three earthen dikes in the river without a proper permit. In the process he allegedly used earth moving equipment to discharge rock, sand and other dredge and fill material into the river. The alleged result was a change in the river’s course that cut off approximately 300 acres of tribal land from the reservation. Separating tribal land from an Indian reservation can create an economic burden on tribal members who wish to use the land for agricultural or other economic purposes, and unpermitted discharge of dredge and fill material into rivers can harm fish and wildlife. The case was investigated by the Denver Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division with legal support from EPA Region 8 in Denver. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cheyenne. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.