State loses tribal lease challenge
Facebook Twitter Email

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a federal court decision which allows the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to withhold financial provisions from a lease signed between the Skull Valley Goshute Tribe of Utah and a group of private companies.

The tribe in 1997 signed the lease with Private Fuel Storage (PFS), a consortium of eight power companies. The tribe wants to store up to 40,000 tons of nuclear waste on a portion of its 18,000-acre reservation and will be paid an undisclosed amount of money for housuing the facility.

The state opposes the project. Officials received a copy of the lease but financial and termination terms were deleted, leading them to sue the Interior.

The appeals court yesterday said the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows the government to withhold the information because the consortium would suffer "competitive injury" if the information were made public.

The project must be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in addition to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The NRC is expected to make a final decision on awarding a storage license to PFS sometime next year.

Get the Case:
STATE OF UTAH v. BAHE, No 00-4018 (10th Cir. July 10, 2001)

Relevant Links:
Utah Office of High Level Nuclear Waste Opposition -
Private Fuel Storage Facility Application, Nuclear Regulatory Commission -
Private Fuel Storage -
The Skull Valley Goshutes -

Related Stories:
Utah Gov. worried about Goshute hypocrisy (7/10)
EPA cites tribe for bad water (6/18)
More study of Goshute nuclear wanted (5/25)
Inside the Bush energy policy (5/18)
Indian Country and the energy policy (5/18)
Tiny tribe worried about nuclear push (5/9)
Tribe files suit to protect nuclear investment (4/20)
Tribe wants say in nuclear decision (4/20)
Utah bans high-level nuclear waste (03/14)