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Tribes claim victory in US District Court

Fort Hall officials say a U.S. District Court decision supports the tribes’ jurisdiction to enforce a judgment against FMC Corporation.

The tribes are looking to collect unpaid fees for FMC’s storage of hazardous waste on the Fort Hall Reservation. In a statement, the tribes said the court’s decision recognizes the soverignty and jurisdiction of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal government at its Michaud Flats Superfund site, which is located within the Reservation boundaries.

The litigation has been underway since 2005. According to the tribes, FMC agreed in 1997 and again in 1998 to pay a hazardous waste storage fee as long as the company stored waste within the reservation. FMC paid the fee until it closed its Pocatello plant in 2002.

According to Nathan Small, Chairman of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, “The Tribes are committed to continuing their effort to protect and preserve the environment for the health and welfare of inhabitants. The Tribes believe in protecting mother earth for all future generations.”

The tribes believe the waste stored at the Superfund site include arsenic, reactive elemental phosphorous, chemical by-products of elemental phosphorous, heavy metals, and other toxic, carcinogenic materials. They contend the capped ponds at the site also leak deadly gases.

FMC may appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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