Editorial: 9th Circuit's decision in Karuk Tribe's case defies logic

"It's not often we find ourselves agreeing with anything coming from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but criticism of the court written by one of its judges in a dissenting opinion in a mining case is right on target.

Earlier this month, the court ruled in favor of the Karuk Tribe of California in a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service. The tribe alleged the Forest Service had failed, as required by the Endangered Species Act, to consult with federal wildlife agencies before it allowed recreational gold mining on the Klamath River to proceed under a Notice of Intent.

A trial court ruled against the tribe, a decision that was upheld by a three-member appeals panel. That ruling was overturned by an 11-member panel representing the full court.

Judge Milan Smith Jr. disagreed with the majority, arguing the court had disregarded its own precedents in finding for the tribe. Then he went further, chastising the 9th Circuit for repeatedly creating "burdensome, entangling environmental regulations out of the vapors.""

Get the Story:
Editorial: 9th Circuit creates laws 'out of the vapors' (The Capital Press 6/14)

9th Circuit Decision:
Karuk Tribe v. USFS (June 1, 2012)

Related Stories:
9th Circuit rules for Karuk Tribe in case over mining along river (6/4)

Join the Conversation