RENO, Nev. (AP) — A U.S. appeals court will consider challenges Tuesday to a huge lithium mine in Nevada in a case that pits environmentalists and Native Americans against President Joe Biden’s plans to combat climate change and could have broad implications for mining operations across the West.
For the first time since it blocked construction of an Arizona copper mine last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was scheduled to hear oral arguments in a two-year-old legal battle with striking similarities to the Arizona case. The Nevada mine is in the works near the Oregon line and would involve extraction of the silvery-white metal used in electric-vehicle batteries.
Lawyers for Lithium Americas — the Canadian company that broke ground on the project in March — as well as the U.S. government, conservationists, tribes and a Nevada rancher were allotted time to highlight their positions during Tuesday’s hearing before a three-judge panel in Pasadena, California.
Leaders of the Western Shoshone and Paiute tribes have argued with little success to date that the Thacker Pass mine is on sacred lands where dozens of tribal members were massacred in 1865 by the U.S. Cavalry. Tribal leaders say the site cannot be disturbed under laws protecting historical and cultural resources.
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