Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejects GRIC's challenge to the Loop 202 South Mountain freeway

December 15, 2017


Communications & Public Affairs Office

Gila River Indian Community


San Francisco, CA – On December 8, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s ruling permitting the South Mountain Freeway to proceed.  The appellate panel concluded that the Federal Highway Administration and the Arizona Department of Transportation had not violated federal law in evaluating and planning the Freeway, despite challenges by the Gila River Indian Community and local groups and residents, who argued that the agencies had predetermined their desired outcome, failed to conduct a proper analysis of the project’s adverse effects, and improperly rejected the no-build option despite the admitted absence of significant benefits from the proposed highway.


The Community had sought a reversal of the District Court’s prior judgment because the South Mountain Freeway would destroy a portion of South Mountain, which is one of the Community’s most cherished and sacred sites, and harm other sites with deep religious and cultural significance to the Community.


The Community is disappointed by the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and is currently considering its options for further court review.