According to Grist, last year ended with two solar energy lawsuits that will stretch into 2011, and whose implications could stretch even further.
Shortly after California and federal agencies approved several huge solar power plants to be built on federal lands, the Native American group La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee, Californians for Renewable Energy, and five individuals filed a complaint alleging that the DOI “failed to conduct an adequate analysis of the cumulative impacts, failed to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement, failed to adequately identify and evaluate the significance of the affected cultural environment, and failed to conduct an adequate analysis of alternatives” for the six solar-electricity generation projects challenged in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs contend that many Native American artifacts and burial sites could be destroyed in the wake of these projects.
This lawsuit comes close on the heels of a similar case, in which the Quechan Indian Tribe also sued the DOI for their approval of a different enormous solar power station. The tribe alleges that more than 450 cultural resources have been identified within the proposed project area. After reviewing the case and the evidence provided by the tribe, a federal judge filed an Order granting preliminary injunction, halting project implementation, pending the outcome of the litigation. (The Quechan Motion for Preliminary Injunction and other materials can be found here.)