Description: Lawsuit alleging that agencies violated the Endangered Species Act when they approved a silver and copper mine project in Montana in one of the last remaining undisturbed habitats in the region for the threatened grizzly bear and bull trout.
Ksanka Kupaqa Xaʾⱡȼin v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/25/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Endangered Species Act Lawsuit Filed Challenging Federal Approvals for Montana Silver and Copper Mine Project. A “coalition of traditional cultural leaders from the Ksanka Band of the Ktunaxa Nation and local, regional, and national conservation organizations” filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Montana asserting that federal agencies failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act when they authorized the Rock Creek Mine project in the Cabinet Mountains in northwest Montana. The complaint alleged that the copper and silver mine project would tunnel under one of the region’s last undeveloped habitats for two threatened species, grizzly bear and bull trout. (The complaint alleged that bull trout were threatened by a number of factors and were particularly vulnerable to climate change because they require “especially cold water to spawn and rear.”) The plaintiffs contended that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had concluded that a 2006 no-jeopardy determination for the grizzly bear remained valid without considering new mortality data. The plaintiffs also challenged the FWS’s biological opinion for the bull trout as well as U.S. Forest Service authorizations that relied on the FWS determinations.