Sunday, June 03, 2012

9th Circuit: Tribe Delays Mining Under Endangered Species Act Because of Religious and Spiritual Concerns

In Karuk Tribe of California v. United States Forest Service, (9th Cir., June 1, 2012), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals en banc agreed with the federal district court that the Karuk Indian Tribe has standing to challenge the continuation of gold mining operations along the Klamath River and its tributaries because these operations may, among other things, impact the Tribe’s ability to enjoy the spiritual, religious, subsistence, recreational, wildlife, and aesthetic qualities of the areas affected by the mining operations. Then in a 7-4 decision, the majority held that the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act when it allowed mining operations to proceed in areas of critical habitat for coho salmon without first consulting appropriate wildlife agencies. The New York Times reports on the decision.