"SAN FRANCISCO -- In a ruling with national implications for public lands, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today overturned the federal government's approval of a land exchange with mining giant Asarco, Inc.
In a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel ruled that the federal Bureau of Land Management violated several federal laws in agreeing to trade public land with Asarco. The company first proposed acquiring the public land 15 years ago as part of a planned expansion of its Ray copper mine in Arizona.
To protect wildlife habitat in the area and in nearby wilderness, three conservation groups sued in federal court in Arizona to overturn the BLM's approval of the land exchange. When District Judge Roslyn Silver declined to reverse the BLM, the groups appealed."