Environmental Report

A trial court properly ordered the City of Agoura Hills, California, to set aside its approval of a development project and to prepare an environmental-impact report, the Ninth Circuit ruled, finding that even though the city’s plan included mitigation measures to reduce the project’s impact on native oaks, other plants and a Chumash cultural site, an environmental report is necessary due to the project’s predicted significant impact on those concerns.

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Breaching Dams Would Help Salmon, Feds Say, but Decline to Do So

The federal agencies that run 14 dams in the Columbia River Basin released a long-awaited analysis Friday on how they will keep salmon from going extinct. Not included in the suite of measures is the action the agencies said would help salmon and steelhead most – breaching four dams along the Snake River.

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Pipelines and Preservation

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled against the Narragansett Tribe, which was seeking an order to compel the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to amend its regulations. While the tribe waited for the agency’s actions on its motion to intervene in the permitting process for a gas pipeline, construction was completed, destroying more than 20 ceremonial stone features. 

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Seventh Circuit Says Hands Are Tied in Tribe’s Fight With EPA Over Mine

A Seventh Circuit panel ruled Monday that federal law offers no recourse for a Wisconsin tribe challenging a permit which would allow runoff from a Michigan sulfide mine into a river on the border between Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, leaving the tribe to fight administratively in Michigan.

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Chinook Tribe Still Fighting Government Erasure

Bronze-cast carvings depicting the heroes of Chinook Indian mythology will soon greet visitors entering Seattle’s Burke Museum, their exploits having been passed through oral history for millennia. But the federal government claims the tellers of those stories – people who ran the major trade hub where the mouth of the Columbia River spills into the Pacific Ocean and who received Lewis & Clark at the end of their journey – do not qualify for federal recognition as a legitimate Indian nation.

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Intergalactic Foreign Trade

The Fifth Circuit dismissed as frivolous a lawyer’s claims brought on behalf of the “Atakapa Indian de Creole Nation” that Louisiana and the federal government have “monopolized ‘intergalactic foreign trade.’” A lower court dismissed the claims based on sovereign immunity but the circuit court ruled it “need not go that far” to resolve the appeal.

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