Conservationists cheered a Friday ruling by a federal appeals court that ordered the U.S. government to reconsider its decision to let the Makah Indian tribe of Washington state hunt migratory gray whales. The court ruled that the federal government had violated environmental laws by agreeing to support the hunt before it had conducted a review to determine what its environmental impact would be. The feds now must perform a new, thorough environmental review, which could take months or years. Still, the court decision affirms the Makahs’ treaty rights to hunt whales and acknowledges that the tribe has special permission to hunt from the International Whaling Commission. After a hiatus of 70 years, the tribe began hunting whales again last year and killed one. No whales have been killed by the tribe during this year’s hunt.