Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Court Dismisses Claim That Solar Project Infringes Sacred Indian Mounds

The Springfield Republican reports that on Friday a Massachusetts federal district court dismissed a lawsuit that sought to stop development of a 6-acre solar farm in Shutesbury, Massachusetts. Plaintiffs contended that the property contained sacred Indian mounds and sacred stone landscapes.  According to the paper:
Two archaeologists ... had found no evidence of sacred structures or burial mounds on the property. However, the plaintiffs claimed that only a "tribal historic preservation officer" could make that determination.
In dismissing the case, [Judge] Mastroianni concluded that the plaintiffs and their consultants have no legal right to enter the property.
The religious land use statute "does not create a substantive right for a person to carry out religious activities on property owned or controlled by another," and the Historic Preservation Act only covers federal or federally assisted projects.