Northern Cheyenne Tribe wins injunction on drilling

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe won a ruling on Tuesday that blocks the Bureau of Land Management from allowing new coalbed methane drilling in the Montana portion of the Powder River Basin.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the injunction will remain in place until the full case is heard. The tribe and environmentalists say coalbed methane development will harm the environment and harm the tribe's hunting and gathering rights.

Arguments will be heard in September, the court said in an order. A copy of the order was not available but here is the pertinent text of the court's entry yesterday:
Pending disposition of this appeal, or further order of the court: (1) the Bureau of Land Management is enjoined from approving any coal bed methane (CBM) production projects in the Powder River Basin of Montana; and (2) intervenor Fidelity Exploration and Production Company is enjoined from drilling any additional Coal Creek Project wells, and from constructing any infrastructure necessary to produce and transport CBM from Coal Creek Projects's existing wells. Intervenor-Appellees' request that appellants be required to post a supersedeas bond pursuant to Rule 62(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is granted. This matter is remanded to the district court to determine the appropriate bond. Appellants' request for expedited briefing and argument is granted. The opening briefs in these consolidated cases are due June 24, 2005; the consolidated answering brief is due July 15, 2005; the consolidated intervenor briefs are due July 29, 2005; and the optional reply briefs are due within 14 days after service of the last served intervenor brief. Aligned parties are encouraged to join in a single brief to the greatest extent practicable. See 9th Cir. R. 28-4. These cases shall be placed on the September 12-16, 2005, argument calendar in Seattle.

Get the Story:
Coalbed projects frozen (AP 6/1)

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