In 2005, a group of members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe living on the Pleasant Point Reservation in Maine became concerned about a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal that was to be located on the reservation. Passamaquoddy Bay is a beautiful, unspoiled body of water that is the center of the cultural, economic, and spiritual life of the Passamaquoddy people. The terminal would have been located on the Split Rock site, which has long been the location of traditional Passamaquoddy Tribe ceremonies. The construction of the proposed LNG terminal would have destroyed the cultural and spiritual value of Split Rock, and would have impacted the ecology of the bay and the quality of the environment on the Pleasant Point Reservation. The project also would have lead to the movement of large tankers through the treacherous waters of Head Harbour Passage and the migration routes of the endangered right whale.
The First Circuit concluded that we must exhaust administrative remedies before litigating the issue of whether the Bureau improperly approved the long-term lease without first preparing an environmental impact statement or consulting with other agencies about harmful impacts to endangered species and tribal culture. We then initiated an appeal with the Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA). However, in 2010, the Bureau terminated the LNG lease while our appeal was pending with the IBIA. In the IBIA appeal, the Clinic sought confirmation that the lease could not be revived, and on January 25, 2013, the IBIA issued an order vacating the Bureau's original approval of the lease. As a result, our clients have reached success after more than seven years of perseverance.
Nulankeyutmonen Nkitahkomikon et al. Brief to the First Circuit (February 2007)
Order of Interior Board of Indian Appeals (January 2013)