The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the US government did not violate federal environmental laws when it approved Lithium Nevada’s Thacker Pass mine in the waning days of the Trump administration.
While everyone wants Lithium mining in the US so that they do not have to buy it from China it seems that no one in authority wants to recognise native American claims on the land.
Several area tribes and environmental groups have tried to block or delay the Thacker Pass mine for more than two years.
Among their arguments was that federal land managers fast tracked it without proper consultation with Indian Country.
“They rushed this project through during COVID and essentially selected three tribes to talk to instead of the long list of tribes that they had talked to in the past,” Rick Eichstaedt, an attorney for the Burns Paiute Tribe, said in an interview late last month.
In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit responded that only after federal land managers approved the mine did it become known that some tribes consider the land sacred. This is an odd argument, considering that no one thought to ask.
Construction of the mine is expected to begin this summer.