Wednesday, July 22, 2015

9th Circuit: Indian Tribe's Challenge To California Geothermal Leases Can Proceed

In Pit River Tribe v. Bureau of Land Management, (9th Cir., July 20, 2015), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court's dismissal of an Indian tribe's challenge to the Bureau of Land Management's extension of 26 unproven geothermal leases in northeastern California’s Medicine Lake Highlands. Several environmental groups were also plaintiffs.  The Pit River Tribe contends that development on geothermal leases will interfere with its members use of the area for spiritual and traditional cultural purposes. The Court held that plaintiffs' claims include a challenge under a provision of the Geothermal Steam Act that requires the BLM to conduct environmental, historical, and cultural review under the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Sacramento Bee reports on the decision.