fbpx
 

FORT HALL, Idaho — The United States Supreme Court on Monday rejected FMC Corporation’s final appeal to contest the jurisdiction of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to regulate storage of approximately 22 million tons of hazardous waste on the Fort Hall Reservation at the Eastern Michaud Superfund site west of Pocatello, Idaho.

“The Tribes are very pleased that the Supreme Court of the United States did not find any merit to FMC’s appeal and that FMC is finally required to honor their agreement to comply with Tribal jurisdiction,” Chairman Devon Boyer, of the Fort Hall Business Council said. 

By denying certiorari, the U.S. Supreme Court defers to the findings of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmation of the District Court’s findings requiring FMC to comply with tribal jurisdiction. 

In 1998, FMC voluntarily agreed to conditions of a tribal annual permit but after four years, when FMC closed business operations in 2002, they refused to honor their agreement and left their hazardous waste within the reservation. During this time the tribes created the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ Waste Management Act, which spelled out requirements for companies who generate or store waste on the reservation, including monitoring of sources of contamination.

The ruling is significant to Indian Country because it confirms corporations must comply with tribal regulations when doing business on tribal lands.

“This decision helps all of Indian Country in efforts to protect Tribal lands and natural resources as well as the betterment of all people of southeast Idaho. When industry enters into a voluntary relationship within tribal lands, they must comply with tribal regulations even when the EPA and/or states may have their own regulatory presence,” Chairman Boyer added.

The ruling is also a positive in tribal efforts to protect the environment.

“This decision furthers the Tribes’ efforts to protect the water and natural resources of the Reservation and surrounding communities. This is a victory for Mother Earth and the Tribes’ ability to protect our water and environment,” Councilman Lee Juan Tyler stated.

In 2005, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes filed suit in the U.S. Idaho Federal District Court to force FMC to comply with its agreement to obtain the annual tribal permit. Since then, both tribal and federal courts have consistently ruled that FMC is required to comply with the voluntary agreement they entered into with the tribes. FMC has appealed every court ruling. Now, almost twenty years later, no more appeals are available to FMC. 

Council member Nathan Small acknowledged the diligent work on this case by tribal leaders and staff. “We are grateful for the leadership and teamwork completed by our prior Tribal Council members, our Land Use Policy Commissioners, Environmental Waste Management Program staff, contractors, and attorneys since 1998,” Small said. 

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (January 23, 2022): D.C. Briefs
NCAI's 2022 Executive Council Winter Session to be Virtual Again This Year
US Supreme Court Will Not Consider Overturning McGirt Decision; Will Rule on Scope of the Landmark Ruling
Former Gov. Bill Richardson Promotes High-tech Jobs at Navajo Technical University; Donates 200 pairs of Nike Shoes to Crownpoint Students
Navajo Nation to Utilize Drones to Deliver Critical Supplies to Community

The truth about Indian Boarding Schools

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $10,000 to fund our year-long journalism initiative called “The Indian Boarding School Project: A Dark Chapter in History.”  Our mission is to shine a light on the dark era of forced assimilation of native American children by the U.S. government and churches.  You’ll be able to read stories each week and join us for Livestream events to understand what the Indian Boarding School era has meant to Native Americans — and what it still means today.

This news will be provided free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts.  Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.