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Te-Moak Tribe of W. Shoshone of Nev. v. Department of the Interior

Citation: 40 ELR 20165
No. No. 07-1633, (9th Cir., 06/18/2010)

The Ninth Circuit held that the BLM violated NEPA when it approved a mining company's amendment to a plan of operations for an existing mineral exploration project in Nevada. The BLM took a hard look at the direct impacts of the amendment and its discussion of reasonable alternatives was proper, but the agency failed to conduct a proper analysis of the cumulative impacts of the amendment on Native American cultural resources in the area. In order for plaintiffs to demonstrate that the BLM failed to conduct a sufficient cumulative impact analysis, they need not show what cumulative impacts would occur. They must show only the potential for cumulative impact. The plaintiffs more than carried their burden here. The BLM's approval, however, did not violate FLPMA or the National Historic Preservation Act.