On Jan. 1, 2024, McGuireWoods Consulting senior vice president Mike Andrews was cited for comment by Law360 on the biggest Native American Law cases to watch in 2024. Andrews is also a partner with McGuireWoods.
Andrews comments on an important appellate case, Apache Stronghold v. U.S. et al., in the Ninth Circuit that impacts one of the largest copper mines in North America and the potential razing of a sacred Native American site in Arizona.
The suit came from an attempt by Apache Stronghold to block a 2014 approved transfer of nearly 2,500 acres of Tonto National Forest land to Resolution Copper Co. in exchange for double the acreage nearby.
“At issue is a plan to extract copper from 2,200 acres of national forest land, a process that the Apache people say would obligate Oak Flat, one of their most sacred spaces,” Andrews said.
The Ninth Circuit case stems from an en banc panel hearing in March 2023. The court granted rehearing before a full panel in November 2022, vacating an earlier Ninth Circuit decision approving the land swap.
Andrews is former chief counsel to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs under the leadership of Sens. John Barrasso, John Hoeven, and Lisa Murkowski, where he was instrumental in passing over 50 bills signed into law. He also served as a senior executive at both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he focused on border security matters.