- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Four Native American tribes have joined forces to sue the Interior Department over White House plans to site solar power plants on Mojave Desert land deemed by some as sacred.

Members of the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo tribes — or, the Colorado River Indian Tribes — say the land is already home to several burial plots and other sacred sites, and the federal government can’t lawfully put utility-scale solar plants there, The Daily Caller reported.

The Blythe Solar Power Project has been in the planning stages for four years and includes eight miles of land west of Blythe, Calif. It received final approval by Bureau of Land Management officials in August and is widely seen as one of President Obama’s pet plans to use federally managed lands for alternative energy development.

But American Indians are fighting the development, saying they weren’t consulted when it came time to decide on siting.

“The removal or destruction of these artifacts and the development of the [plant] as planned with cause CRIT, its government and its members irreparable harm,” the tribal coalition wrote, The Daily Caller reported.

The CRIT also said that the Interior Department ought to abide by federal laws regarding historical sites, the news outlet reported.

“The ancestors of CRIT’s Mohave and Chemehuevi members occupied the Mohave Desert since time immemorial, using trails that cross the [proposed solar] site and leaving behind the burial grounds, grindstones, hammerstones, petroglyphs, and trails that have been found in the Project vicinity.”

BLM said feds did consult with Native Americans.

A BLM spokesman said to The Daily Caller that the agency conducted “government-to-government consultation with 15 recognized tribes, including the Colorado River Indian Tribes.”

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