"For much of the state of Maine, the environment is the economy"
2006 November 21
Contact: Vera Francis
(“We Take Care of the Land”).
PO Box 313, Perry, Maine 04667
For Immediate Release
“We maintain that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) did approve a ground lease for Quoddy Bay LLC, without conditions, and without doing any review. By not fully reviewing our case, Judge Woodcock’s interpretation falls short. Though a full review of our case could have avoided a protracted administrative process it places a great burden onto tribal members demonstrating their legal right to Passamaquoddy land and waters. We should not be the ones penalized simply because BIA has done one thing and when questioned says another, while allowing Passamaquoddy interests to be exploited. At best the BIA is in an awkward position, but if it intends to further challenge Passamaquoddy rightswe are confident about our responsibility to take care of our land. Since the essence of BIA’s role rests on the principle of trust responsibility, and everything about this ground lease and its intended project indicates a need for heightened scrutiny, it remains unclear whether or not BIA actually takes its mandate seriously.”
“We will be appealing to the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals. We will be asking the First Circuit to review Judge Woodcock’s decision because the Court’s decision misconstrued the nature of our claims and the nature of the BIA’s action. The Court erred by stating that no injury has occurred because the LNG facility is not far enough along in the construction and operation process. The federal laws in this case are procedural and allow for judicial review once the BIA takes a final agency action in this case approving the ground lease agreement. The Court incorrectly concluded that the BIA had not given a final approval of the lease. Nothing in the lease allows for the BIA to go back and review or revoke its approval. Therefore, Plaintiffs have suffered an injury because the BIA approved the entire ground lease agreement and this approval was done without following the requisite environmental review and protection of tribal interests.”
For more information, contact: Justin Kolber (802) 831-1626, or Patrick A. Parenteau (802) 831-1305, at Vermont Law School’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, South Royalton, VT.