Another setback for Tribes battling Nevada lithium mine

Nov 20, 2023

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du has granted the government’s motion to dismiss claims brought by Tribes that the Thacker Pass lithium mine threatens the historic site of a massacre of Tribal members by the U.S. Cavalry in 1865. Du had previously ruled that the Tribes had failed to prove that the location of the massacre site is the same as that of the proposed lithium mine.

Du also agreed with the government that, since consultation with the Tribes is ongoing, it is not yet ripe for legal challenge. “If agencies are left to define when consultation is ongoing and when consultation is finished … then agencies will hold consultation open forever — even as construction destroys the very objects of consultation — so that agencies can never be sued,” the Tribes wrote in briefs filed with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a part of the case is pending with oral argument expected next February. Meanwhile, Lithium Nevada is moving ahead with construction at the site, and company officials say the project is on schedule to begin producing lithium by late 2026.

How a Wyoming land use plan ended up in a misinformation war

On the latest episode of the Center for Western Priorities podcast, The Landscape, Aaron and Kate are joined by Julia Stuble, Wyoming State Senior Manager with The Wilderness Society. Julia is a Wyomingite who’s lived and worked in the state for decades. She talked about a proposed Bureau of Land Management resource management plan, or RMP, for southwest Wyoming that’s making waves in the state. The draft Rock Springs RMP prioritizes conservation in some areas by closing them to new oil and gas leasing, but those areas aren’t of much interest to oil and gas companies anyway. So why is the state making such a ruckus about it? Julia has the answers.

Quick hits

Judge rules against tribes in fight over Nevada lithium mine

Associated Press

Willow project must be stopped pending appeal, groups say

Reuters | Alaska Public Media

Wyoming U.S. senators support bill to sell off public lands for housing

Wyoming Public Radio | Westwise

Largest dam removal project in U.S. history hits major milestone


How did the nation’s two largest reservoirs nearly go dry?

Colorado Sun

The American West’s glaciers are disappearing


Wildfires are thawing the tundra

High Country News

Opinion: BLM’s preferred alternative is good for wildlife

Laramie Boomerang

Quote of the day

While climate change is a very real, existential threat, if government agencies are allowed to rush through permitting processes to fast-track destructive mining projects like the one at Thacker Pass, more of the natural world and more Native American culture will be destroyed.”

—Will Falk, who represents the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, Associated Press

Picture This

@organpipenps Even seen a silver cardinal? The beautiful Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) has a slightly difficult name to pronounce (PURR-huu-lox-i-a) but we don’t mind. Perhaps because of its slightly tongue-twistery name (and its appearance), it’s also known as the “desert cardinal”. Use whichever you prefer; we’re pretty sure this silver and red bird doesn’t mind one way or another (but you might want to ask it just to be polite)! To learn more about birds in the monument, visit


Feature image: Cattle and snow-capped mountains at Orovada near Thacker Pass, Ian Bigley via Flickr