United States Court of Appeals heard Oral Arguments for rights to participate in the Great Lakes Consent Decree.

May 3, 2023.  

On May 3rd, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard Oral Arguments regarding the rights of the Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources to have a meaningful seat at the table when negotiating the Great Lakes Consent Decree.  

The tribes with rights are Bay Mills Indian Community, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.  Other legally established interested parties are the United States, Canada, and the State of Michigan.   This coalition is attempting to insert their rights to be part of these talks, with rights to vote when it comes to approving the agreement.  Listening to the oral arguments and questions from the Judges appear to indicate in our opinion that though the Judges have agreed to rule on this case it is highly unlikely the coalition will prevail.       

Not in their favor in our view is that it appeared that the Appeals Court Judges take the accusations asserted in filings against the Coalition to protect Michigan Resources that they violated the confidentiality of a non-disclosure agreement they signed when allowed to attend the decree negotiations more seriously than the coalition did. The lack of their response to the motions filed by the opposing parties asserting these confidentiality breaches may be the issue that tips this case against them.  The Judges reminded the attorney for the coalition that they take the breach of confidentiality in executed non-disclosure agreements as a violation they will not tolerate.  

The other issue mentioned by the Judges is the complexity of enforcing the Great Lakes Decree if the courts allowed the coalition to be a party in this matter because it would set a precedent that would allow any party to assert jurisdiction and additional fishing rights.  


Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources