Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pit River Tribe v. U.S. Forest Service

Aug 2: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 09-15385. The Appeals Court indicates that the appeal arises out of an action by the Pit River Tribe, et al (collectively Pit River) against the United States Forest Service, et al (collectively agencies), and against Calpine Corporation (Calpine). This case has already resulted in one appeal to this court, Pit River Tribe v. United States Forest Service, 469 F.3d 768, 772 (9th Cir. 2006) (Pit River I). The underlying litigation concerns Calpine's efforts to develop a geothermal power plant near Medicine Lake, an area of spiritual significance to the Pit River Tribe and other Native American tribes in the region.
    The district court concluded that the agencies need not "withdraw the 1988 leasing decisions," but that the "BLM shall have absolute discretion to void or cancel the leases, deny lease extensions or unit commitment, and add or modify lease conditions." In conclusion, the Appeals Court said, ". . .we substantially uphold the district court's remand; and we remand with instructions to correct (1) the statement that "the 1998 lease extension in this case took effect and the 1988 leases did not expire" as explained in Part II.A of this opinion, and (2) the typographical error using the word "until" instead of the word 'unit,' as explained in Part II.C of this opinion." The case was affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded for further proceeding consistent with the opinion.
    Access the complete opinion (click here).

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