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Court Rules Environmental Groups Can't Stop Mining On Navajo Reservation

By Bridget Dowd
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 12:46pm
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 3:40pm
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Environmental groups have tried to hinder expanded coal mining on the Navajo Reservation that powers the Four Corners Power Plant. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals put a stop to their bid on Monday.

The court ruled any legal action contesting the decisions of the federal government to grant the necessary permits needs to include the Navajo Transitional Energy Company.

That company is wholly owned by the Navajo Nation and the tribe has sovereign immunity, meaning it can’t be sued.

Writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, Judge Michelle Friedland said, given the tribe's reliance on the mine and the money it generates, it would be unfair to allow the case to go forward without the tribal company.