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Transfer of Sacred Apache Land for Copper Mining Survives Test

June 24, 2022, 6:41 PM

A government land transfer that could allow new copper mining in Arizona withstood a legal test when the Ninth Circuit on Friday ruled against an Apache American Indian nonprofit group that says the land in question is sacred religious ground.

Apache Stronghold isn’t entitled to a preliminary injunction blocking the transfer of a 6.7-square-mile plot of copper-rich federal land to a mining company, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in a 2-1 decision. Apache didn’t show the transfer would “substantially burden” their religion under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because it doesn’t coerce them to abandon ...