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Sho-Ban Tribes win FMC lawsuit

Shoshone-Bannock-Tribes

SAN FRANCISO, Ca. (KIFI/KIDK) - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court judgment which affirmed a Shoshone Bannock Tribal Court of Appeals decision regarding a long-running dispute with the FMC Corporation.

In it, the court ruled FMC must pay an annual use permit fee for storage of hazardous waste on fee lands within the Shoshone Bannock Fort Hall Reservation.  The requirement was laid out in a consent decree settling a prior suit brought against FMC by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Circuit Court concluded the FMC's storage of millions of tons of hazardous waste on the Reservation "threatens or has some direct effect on the political integrity, economic security, or the 'health and welfare' of the Tribes.."

The Shoshone Bannock Tribes have imposed a $1.5 million annual hazardous waste storage permit fee against FMC Corporation.

Chairman Ladd Edmo of the Fort Hall Business Council states, "Today is a great day for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes! We are very pleased with the 9th Circuit of Appeals ruling. I would like to commend our former Tribal leaders, our Land Use Policy Commissioners, technical staff and legal team for all the years of hard work."

According to a Tribe news release, FMC agreed to pay annual storage fees in 1998, but stopped in 2002 when the company closed its Pocatello plant.  

The ruling means FMC must pay the Tribes, but that does not include interest for past storage fees for as long as the hazardous waste has been stored within the reservation.  The fees are to be used for environmental monitoring, compliance, and cleanup.

According to Kelly Wright, the Tribes Environmental Waste Manager, "The waste at FMC is toxic, reactive and presents a risk to our community. We are thankful the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recognizes this risk and recognizes our jurisdiction. We can now work to fully implement our Hazardous Waste Main Act Regulations and develop safety monitoring and notification networks."

You can read the court decision here. 

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