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Tribes can't collect fees in sacred site case

Six tribes and an Indian organization who sued the Bush administration to stop the construction of a shooting range near the sacred Bear Butte in South Dakota can't collect attorney's fees, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday.

In a seven-page ruling [PDF], the court acknowledged that the Department of Housing and Urban Development took action to stop the use of federal funds for project. But the court said this decision was unrelated to the merits of the tribal lawsuit.

The court also noted that the developers of the shooting range voluntarily dropped the project. Therefore, the tribes and Defenders of the Black Hills aren't entitled to fees awarded to the "prevailing party" in a lawsuit against the federal government, the court ruled.

Get the Story:
Tribes not entitled to fees (AP 1/19)

Get the Decision:
Northern Cheyenne Tribe v. Jackson (January 18, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Defenders of the Black Hills -

Related Stories:
Opinion: Land use plans ignore tribal traditions (12/12)
Editorial: Permanent protection for Bear Butte (11/28)
Proposed bar near Bear Butte still under fire (10/31)
Man to change name, location of Bear Butte bar (10/28)
Respect urged at Bear Butte during high season (08/13)
Non-Indians press for access at sacred Bear Butte (07/16)
Plans for shooting range near sacred site scrapped (01/12)
Developers: Shooting range near Bear Butte still on (12/16)
Plans for shooting range near Bear Butte on hold (12/02)
Developers face deadline on proposed shooting range (11/14)
S.D. commission bans hunting at sacred site (11/07)
Janklow thought of shooting range by sacred site (10/17)
Janklow defends use of grant for shooting range (10/16)
S.D. governor says shooting range grant was OK (10/13)
Lakota group seeks protection of Black Hills (09/19)
S.D. to return grant for Bear Butte shooting range (09/19)
Protections for sacred sites called inadequate (06/19)
Federal funds used for shooting range near sacred site (03/25)
Judge to hear tribal suit against shooting range (3/19)
Four tribes file lawsuit to stop shooting range (03/04)