9th Circuit denies bid by environmentalists and tribes to block Nevada lithium mine Scott Sonner (Associated Press – July 17, 2023)


RENO, Nev. (AP) — The latest bid by conservationists and tribal leaders to block construction of a huge lithium mine already in the works along the Nevada-Oregon line was denied by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.

A three-panel judge of the San Francisco-based appellate court rejected a half-dozen legal arguments the opponents had put forth in their appeal seeking to overturn federal land managers’ approval of one of the projects at the forefront of President Joe Biden’s plans to combat climate change.

The critics have been fighting it in federal court for two years. They claim the open-pit mine, as deep as the length of a football field, will violate multiple environmental laws and destroy lands tribal members consider sacred because they say dozens of their ancestors were massacred there in 1865.

Lithium Nevada Corp.’s mine at Thacker Pass, 200 miles (320 kilometers) northeast of Reno, has pitted environmentalists and Native Americans against Biden’s efforts to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner, renewable energy sources. The mine would involve extraction of the silvery-white metal used in electric vehicle batteries.

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