10th Circuit rules in Indian Country status case

A proposed uranium mine in New Mexico is located in Indian Country, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said on Friday.

Hydro Resources Inc., a subsidiary of Uranium Resources Inc, wants to develop a 160-acre site near Churchrock. The company will have to seek Environmental Protection Agency approval since the land is within a dependent Indian community, a split panel of the 10th Circuit said.

“This is a huge victory, and if upheld on further appeal, will set precedent for regulating non-Indian activities on non-Indian lands inside dependent Indian communities,” Chris Shuey of the Southwest Research Information Center told The Gallup Independent.

The Navajo Nation has banned mining on tribal lands.

Get the Story:
Court: Mine on Indian Country land (The Gallup Independent 4/18)

10th Circuit Decision:
Hydro Resources v. US (April 17, 2009)

Related Stories:
Navajos sue to stop uranium mine in New Mexico (2/13)
Indian Country ruling a victory for Navajo Nation (3/1)