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9th Circuit rejects Northern Cheyenne injunction
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Filed Under: Environment | Law

A divided panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Northern Cheyenne Tribe's attempt to block coalbed methane development in Montana.

By a 2-1 vote, the panel agreed that the Interior Department violated environmental law by approving drilling in the Powder River Basin. But the judges left in place a lower court order that allowed "limited" development while a new environmental impact statement is being prepared.

The court did not reach the question of whether drilling would harm the tribe's cultural resources. "Neither the plan nor the partial injunction can affect any Indian cultural resources, because no actual development is possible without additional environmental assessment, consultation with the tribe as required by the National Historic Preservation Act, and permits," Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld wrote.

Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder dissented. She said the "limited" development would significantly impact the environment even though the Interior Department has failed to study all of the options for coalbed methane drilling.

Get the Story:
Panel upholds judge's ruling in coal-bed methane case (AP 9/12)

Get the Decision:
Northern Cheyenne Tribe v. Kempthorne (September 11, 2007)

Relevant Links:
Northern Cheyenne Tribe -

Related Stories:
Northern Cheyenne Tribe in leadership dispute (8/1)
Letter: Northern Cheyenne leaders embarrass tribe (7/20)
Northern Cheyenne president to address dispute (7/18)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe to move slowly on coal (11/16)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe to investigate election (11/15)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe votes on development (11/9)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe to vote on coal mining (07/18)
Cheyenne activist criticizes Bush drilling push (04/06)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe settles drilling lawsuit (11/02)
Tribe urged to consider coalbed methane development (09/14)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe to pay bond in drilling case (07/20)
Montana tribe develops water quality standards (07/11)
EPA case on tribal sovereignty attracts attention (06/07)
Judge says BLM failed to consult tribe on drilling (06/08)
Northern Cheyenne members speak out against drilling (6/2)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe wins injunction on drilling (6/1)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe seeks halt to new drilling (05/18)
Judge rejects tribe's call for halt on new drilling (04/06)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe wants new drilling halted (3/30)
BLM, drilling firm try to close hearing in tribe's case (3/23)
Report blames lax culture for Griles ethical 'train wreck' (03/17)

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