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Oklahoma Sues Interior Over Coal Mining Oversight on Tribal Land

Aug. 18, 2021, 8:58 PM

The federal government violated the law by stripping Oklahoma of its ability to regulate coal mining within lands of the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations, according to a lawsuit filed in a federal court in the state.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement said in June that the state can’t exercise jurisdiction over surface coal mining and reclamation activities within the boundaries of the reservations. This decision was based on a state criminal appeals court’s finding that Congress did not “disestablish” the reservations, and they are therefore “Indian lands” under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, the agency ...

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