Here is the opinion.
We grant in part the petitions for review because the Order does not justify the Commission’s determination that it was not in the public interest to require review of small cell deployments. In particular, the Commission failed to justify its confidence that small cell deployments pose little to no cognizable religious, cultural, or environmental risk, particularly given the vast number of proposed deployments and the reality that the Order will principally affect small cells that require new construction. The Commission accordingly did not, pursuant to its public interest authority, 47 U.S.C. § 319(d), adequately address possible harms of deregulation and benefits of environmental and historic-preservation review. The Order’s deregulation of small cells is thus arbitrary and capricious. We do not reach the alternative objections to the elimination of review on small cell construction. We deny the petitions for review on the remaining grounds.
Prior post here.
Here is the complaint Narragansett Indian Tribe v. Federal Highway Administration (D.R.I.):
The Tribe brings this action to challenge the termination of a programmatic agreement(“PA”) entered into pursuant to the regulations of the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”). The termination of the PA occurred after substantial construction had taken place on the project for which the PA was meant to address and resolve the adverse effects of the project on historic properties to the signatories’ satisfaction. The termination of the PA after substantial work had been performed on the project, and the subsequent final decision of the Federal Highway Association (“FHWA”) was arbitrary and capricious.
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”), 54 U.S.C. § 306108, requires federal agencies to consult with Indian tribes and other interested parties to assess and mitigate the potential adverse impacts that a project requiring federal approval may have on sites of historic and cultural significance.
The question presented here is whether the NHPA imposes a continuing obligation upon federal agencies to engage in consultation under Section 106 when an agency maintains supervision of an ongoing project, and has the opportunity to require changes to mitigate adverse impacts after the initial approval.
Lower court materials here.
Amanda M. Marincic has published “The National Historic Preservation Act: An Inadequate Attempt to Protect the Cultural and Religious Sites of Native Nations” in the Iowa Law Review.
Beginning in 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe engaged in a highly-publicized, year-long legal battle with Energy Transfer Partners regarding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”). The Tribe initially argued that the DAPL’s construction would destroy ancient burial sites and potentially poison their only source of drinking water, the Missouri River. The Tribe also argued that the agency involved in the project, the Army Corps of Engineers, did not fulfill the obligations required by the NHPA. For a while, the fate of the DAPL was uncertain, with permits for construction being denied and then granted. After the Army Corps of Engineers granted the permit pursuant to President Trump’s memorandum, construction on the DAPL was completed. After several failed attempts by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt operation of the DAPL, a federal district judge ruled in June 2017 that the environmental impact studies done on the DAPL were inadequate. While this ruling is a small victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the NHPA was useless in protecting its cultural sites from significant damage.
Here is the petition in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Federal Communications Commission (D.C. Cir.):