U.S. judge denies Native American bid to block land swap for Rio Tinto copper mine

Adds track record, tribal statement Jan 14 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Thursday denied…

Adds track record, tribal statement

Jan 14 (Reuters)A U.S. judge on Thursday denied a ask for by Native People to block the Trump administration from publishing an environmental review that would result in a land swap desired by Rio Tinto Ltd RIO.AXRIO.L to construct a copper mine in Arizona.

The ruling is a blow to the San Carlos Apache tribe and some others who have very long opposed Rio’s Resolution copper venture, which would be created on land viewed as sacred.

U.S. District Decide Steven Logan declined to difficulty a restraining get that would have prevented the government from publishing the environmental analyze as planned on Friday, a move that would start out a 60-day countdown to transfer the land to Rio Tinto.

Tribal attorneys are needed, below legal statute, to explore the restraining purchase ask for with the federal government, but governing administration lawyers did not return the tribe’s cellular phone phone calls, the filing documents display. Due to the fact the two sides did not talk, Logan said he would not approve the restraining buy.

The choose added that even if the research is posted, it does not automatically indicate the land swap will go as a result of, while the U.S. Congress had mandated just that in 2014. The judge has established a collection of hearings on the subject above the future two months.

Lawyers for tribal members say they are looking forward to the hearings and hope the choose will invalidate the environmental analyze, if it is printed, or rule the 2014 act by Congress unconstitutional.

As an extra defense, tribal users on Thursday submitted a property lien on the land, effectively stating the federal government does not personal the land and hence are not able to give it away.

The U.S. Forest Support, which manages the land, was not immediately accessible to comment. Rio declined to comment.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder and Melanie Burton Enhancing by Shri Navaratnam and Karishma Singh)

(([email protected] Twitter: @ErnestScheyder +1-713-210-8512 Reuters Messaging: [email protected]))

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