For almost 15 years, the Center has provided legal representation to the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Tribes of the Ft. Belknap Indian Reservation in their fight for environmental justice and clean-up of the contamination caused by the Zortman-Landusky gold mines. We filed successful legal challenges to the inadequate clean-up of the mine sites under the Clean Water Act, and eventually the mines were forced into bankruptcy. However, that did not mean our work on behalf of the tribes stopped. We continued to help the tribes demand the firstever complete reclamation of these two open-pit mines. Through our long history of work with the tribes, we have been able to demonstrate how Indian governments can successfully hold corporate and government actors accountable.
For years now, the tribes have led a coalition of environmental and conservation groups to push for full reclamation of the mine sites. This tribal and environmental alliance has been used as an example of the positive results that can be achieved in Indian Country when different groups join together for a common cause. Now we are joining the resources of the tribes, non-Indian environmental organizations, and state and federal governments to solve the remaining pollution problems. This collaboration has been very successful and full reclamation is almost complete.
We will continue working on behalf of the tribes to protect the environmental integrity of the Little Rocky Mountains. Having invested more than a decade in this historic cleanup, we intend to stand by the tribes and see this reclamation through to the end.