- Associated Press - Thursday, July 10, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal appeals court has rejected a claim by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas that the federal government failed to protect the tribe’s land from drilling and timber harvesting.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans issued a ruling Wednesday that affirms a lower court decision. The tribe in its lawsuit claimed federal officials failed in their “fiduciary obligations” to protect tribal lands that stretch across the Davy Crockett and Sam Houston national forests and other parts of East Texas.

The tribe had argued its resources were harmed, and aboriginal rights undermined, by federal approval of timber sales and drilling permits for oil and gas.

The appeals court ruled the tribe failed to prove federal officials breached their fiduciary responsibilities to the tribe.

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