Westlaw News

9th Circuit says Indian tribe may stop oil train traffic on reservation

A federal appeals court affirmed on Wednesday a lower court ruling that held it could order a freight railroad company to stop running 100-car trains packed with crude oil through tribal land in Washington state.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that a district court could force BNSF Railway Company not to use tracks on Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reservation land to carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation, saying the transport violated a long-standing agreement reached under the 1948 Indian Right of Way Act (IRWA) that limits the number of railcars that can use the tracks daily.

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