Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lawsuit claims BLM approval of wind energy project violated laws

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Las Vegas claims the Bureau of Land Management violated federal environmental and American Indian cultural laws when the agency approved a wind energy project near Great Basin National Park. The 36-page complaint states that despite "very significant and unknown environmental and cultural impacts," the BLM gave "fast track" approval of the Spring Valley Wind project in White Pine County four miles from a cave where more than 1 million Mexican free-tailed bats roost in the fall, and near the sacred Western Shoshone swamp cedar site where Indians were massacred during the Goshute War of 1863. "BLM refused to conduct the full environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Instead, under pressure from high-level BLM officials and the industry proponent, BLM rushed through a short-cut analysis in order to meet arbitrary funding deadlines desired by the industry," according to the lawsuit filed by attorneys for the Center for Biological Diversity, the Western Watershed Project, the Ely Shoshone Tribe, the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation. The lawsuit seeks to block the BLM from allowing Spring Valley Wind to go forward with "ground-clearing, site preparation and wind tower construction until such time as BLM has fully complied with law."...more

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