Tribal sacred sites are often sacred for a reason. The land provides and you don’t shit where you eat.
By SCOTT SONNER Associated Press
Posted: 10/22/2011 09:01:58 AM PDT
Updated: 10/22/2011 09:01:59 AM PDT
RENO, Nev.—Lawyers for an environmental group and Native American tribes trying to block another expansion at one of the biggest gold mines in North America say the U.S. government—in concert with the largest gold company in the world—is making an unprecedented attempt to skirt two of the nation’s fundamental laws protecting federal lands.
In a case that’s been bouncing back and forth between federal court in Reno and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for nearly three years, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Barrick Gold Corp. have countered that the Great Basin Resource Watch and the Western Shoshone are exaggerating the harm the mining operation will cause to the groundwater beneath Nevada’s Mt. Tenabo, and to the cultural and religious beliefs of native people who regard the water as sacred.
The Obama administration is arguing, for the first time, that it has no responsibility under the National Environmental Policy Act or Federal Land Management and Policy Act to analyze those cultural and religious impacts because they can’t be quantified. And—in the case of Barrick’s Cortez Hills project—the government is arguing any damages from those impacts are impossible to mitigate.