Oil & Gas News

Nevada Judge Rules Against Tribes in Lithium Mine Case

Nevada, Shoshone, Lithium

In Nevada, a federal judge has delivered a blow to three tribal nations opposing the construction of what could be the United States’ largest lithium mine, citing potential environmental and cultural damages. Judge Miranda Du allowed the tribes to modify their lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management, which they accuse of hastening the project to satisfy surging lithium demand.

Concurrently, the 2023 White House Tribal Nations summit, hosted by the Department of the Interior in Washington, is addressing issues like “strengthening nation-to-nation relationships” and “protecting tribal homelands amid climate change.”

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Mineral RightsJimmy John Thompson, from the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, expressed concerns over Nevada being overwhelmed by clean-energy initiatives, fearing that tribal communities might be neglected. Thompson noted that even federal funds are supporting these projects, yet they’re not benefiting tribal groups who are most impacted by these developments.

President Joe Biden has touted his administration’s “record investments for tribal nations,” while acknowledging the need for further action. He views the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act as pivotal for Native communities, particularly in combating climate change.

Bryan Newland, the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Interior Department, emphasized that 80% of the world’s biodiversity is under Indigenous stewardship. Speaking at this week’s summit, he stressed the value of co-stewardship on public lands and the importance of protecting sacred Indigenous sites on these lands.

Newland also highlighted the crucial role of tribal lands in addressing climate change. Since Biden’s inauguration, five national monuments have been established under the Antiquities Act, including Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada, signifying efforts to preserve Indigenous heritage and biodiversity.

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