While federal census-takers count every nose on the reservation, the push is on to complete a separate survey of tribal members and other Indians. Robert Spaulding of the tribe's grant office said the special survey covers more detailed information about people and will help support future grant applications. It began last fall, starting with the 1,726 enrolled members although members of other tribes living on the reservation also were contacted. Spaulding said the information is the detail needed to respond to grant application questions like how many Indians 60 and older are on the reservation. It also seeks information that will help tribal planners prepare to meet the needs of the reservation next year or in five years or in the next decade. Planning for employment is a special area of interest, he said. "We ask, 'What job position do you have now? What have you done most of your life? What would you like to do for a living? What other skills do you have?"' The information is being compiled by Tribal Data Resources Inc., a California company with 15 years experience. Once computerized, it can be used to create specific reports as the tribe needs them.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the 1998 lower court ruling that precluded federal environmental regulators from expanding the Bunker Hill Superfund cleanup to the entire Coeur d-Alene Basin. It gave mining companies 90 days to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. But the panel pointed out its decision followed a ruling issued earlier by the district appellate court. It also deferred the question of whether the Justice Department waited too long before it joined the tribe's 1991 suit asking for an order for mining companies to pay clean-up costs, estimated as high as $1 billion. The mid-June ruling means the companies could be held responsible for cleaning up toxic metals pollution deposited on 1,500 miles of shoreline over a century of mining, Environmental Protection Agency officials said. However, mining companies, led by Asarco Inc. and Hecla Mining Co. downplayed the decision. A spokeswoman, Holly Houston said the ruling simply means the industry must start again defending its contention the Superfund site, confined to 21 square miles around the Bunker Hill smelter site for nearly two decades, cannot be significantly expanded without formal public notice and comment.