Groups sues U.S. over Calif. sacred sites

Posted on December 31, 2010


Published: Dec. 30, 2010 at 3:41 PM
RIVERSIDE, Calif., Dec. 30 (UPI) — An American Indian group is suing the Obama administration, saying approval of Southern California solar developments violated laws that protect sacred places.

The La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Site Protection Circle alleges the expedited approval process OK’d last year by U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar circumvents laws that protect Indian burial grounds and other resources, the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise reported WednesdayU.S. Bureau of Land Management officials fast-tracked paperwork and reviews so projects could be ready for construction by the end of the year, a requirement for projects to qualify for federal stimulus subsidies, the newspaper said.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego, seeks to rescind the approvals of three projects in San Bernardino County, two in eastern Riverside County, and one in Imperial County.

The developments collectively cover 23,842 acres of previously undisturbed land.

BLM spokesman David Briery said the agency is reviewing the complaint.

Cory Briggs, an attorney for the Indians, said he would ask a judge to halt the projects so graves and other sacred places are not destroyed.

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