A New Mexico-based uranium producer plans to move forward with a mining operation in the western part of the state after that a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that its land is not part of Indian Country.
The full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in a 6-5 decision that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency erred when it determined that a parcel of land near the Navajo community of Church Rock was Indian land.
The decision means that Hydro Resources Inc. can seek an underground injection control permit from the state of New Mexico rather than the EPA, which has permitting authority on tribal lands.
Hydro Resources wants to inject chemicals into the ground to release uranium and pump the solution to the surface in a process called in-situ leaching.