Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 10, 2024

Federal Judge Sides with Interior on Fake Green Energy: Tosses out Lawsuit by Tohono O'odham and San Carlos Apache Nations

Tohono O'odham said it is heartbreaking to see Interior Sec. Deb Haaland promoting SunZia's wind energy project. The ancestral lands of Tohono O'odham and San Carlos Apache are being bulldozed for transmission lines in the pristine San Pedro. Bulldozers are destroying ancient villages, burial places and medicine grounds. -- Censored News

Federal Judge Sides with Interior on Fake Green Energy: Tosses out Lawsuit by Tohono O'odham and San Carlos Apache Nations

Clean Energy, the Dirty Lie

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, June 8, 2024
French translation by Christine Prat

A federal judge tossed out the lawsuit filed by the Tohono O'odham and San Carlos Apache Nations, who filed for a restraining order on Interior Sec. Deb Haaland and an injunction to halt the bulldozers tearing through their ancient lands, destroying ancieant village sites, burial places and medicine grounds.

"American legacy prevail, broken treaties, waived protection laws and traitors scouting out loopholes," said Ophelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham.

"Such is the so called tribal sovereignty. The land holds strong and strengthened only by real people who put down the cornmeal not politicians."

A U.S. district judge dismissed a lawsuit by Tohono O'odham and San Carlos Apache Nations and environmentalists who sought to halt construction along part of a $10 billion energy transmission line that will carry wind-generated electricity from New Mexico to California.

SunZia Transmission Project is privately owned by the Canada Pension Fund.

In Tucson, Federal Judge Jennifer Zipps dismissed the lawsuit against the $10 billion energy transmission line that will carry wind-generated electricity from New Mexico to California, tearing through O'odham and Apache sacred places, and pristine areas of the Southwest.

Bulldozer destroying land for SunZia in San Pedro region. Photo by Archaeology Southwest.

Zipps said in her ruling issued Thursday that the plaintiffs were years too late in bringing their challenge. It followed an earlier decision in which she dismissed their requests for a preliminary injunction, saying the Bureau of Land Management had fulfilled its obligations to identify historic sites and prepare an inventory of cultural resources, Associated Press reports.

The Tohono O’odham Nation, San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Center for Biological Diversity and Archaeology Southwest sued in January in hopes of stopping the clearing of roads and pads so more work could be done to identify culturally significant sites within a 50-mile stretch of the San Pedro Valley in southern Arizona, east of Tucson.

Tohono O'odham and Apache said the Interior is violating federal laws.

The tribes asked a federal appeals court to intervene in April, arguing that the federal government has legal and distinct obligations under the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and that the Bureau of Land Management’s interpretation of how its obligations apply to the SunZia project should be reviewed, AP reported.

While promoting the private corporation of SunZia at the groundbreaking in New Mexico, Haaland called the project "clean energy.

Native people say the hoax of clean green energy is being used for the benefit of corporations destroying historical and sacred places. Canada's Lithium America is digging into the Paiute Massacre Site for lithium and plans for lithium mines now target the sacred places of the Hualapai in Arizona and Quechan in southern California.

Tohono O'odham describe its ancestral territory in the San Pedro, home to the Sobaipuri O'odham, ancestors of O'odham in San Xavier. They are descendants of the ancient Hohokam who lived here.

Read more, by Center for Biological Diversity:


20230309: San Carlos Apache Trib to BLM: “February 2023 FEIS simply ignores the Tribe’s concerns, and the abundant and readily accessible evidence for the religious, cultural, and historical significance to the Tribe and other Indigenous Peoples of the San Pedro Valley and adjacent lands that will be harmfully altered by the proposed transmission line.”


20230316: The Tohono O’odham Nation to BLM: “Tohono O’odham Nation has well-documented cultural, religious, ancestral, and oral history connections with the Arizona lands on which the Sun Zia Transmission Line is proposed to be constructed. The concerns of the Tohono O’odham Nation have been expressed for many years in a long series of consultation meetings with the Bureau of Land Management. Many of these concerns have not been addressed regarding visual impacts to the San Pedro River Valley, an important “traditional cultural landscape” significant to the Tohono O’odham Nation and other Tribes in Arizona. Also, the Tohono O’odham Nation has concerns over direct impacts to individual cultural resource sites that will be destroyed by Sun Zia Transmission Line construction and hundreds of miles of access roads.


Input from the Tohono O’odham Nation and other Tribes regarding adverse impacts to individual cultural sites and the San Pedro River Valley Traditional Cultural Place has largely been ignored. Recommendations to move the Sun Zia Transmission Line out of the San Pedro Valley Traditional Cultural landscape have been ignored. …


20230803 Pima Count to BLM: “We express concerns with BLM and the Applicant’s disregard for considering the full breadth of heritage resources that will be impacted by the undertaking, and disagree with any mitigation strategy that is limited only to the recovery and analysis of archaeological resources alone.


20231019 Pueblo of Zuni to BLM: “The Zuni people have a strong traditional cultural, heritage, and religious connections to the San Pedro Valley and areas within the undertaking's APE that extend west into central southern Arizona. These connections are well documented in the published account of Zuni ethnohistoric research [History is in the LandMultivocal Tribal Traditions in Arizona’s San Pedro Valley by Ferguson and Colwell-Chanthanphonh (2006)] conducted in the early 2000s.


20231006 Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to BLM: “BLM cannot authorize construction until all parts of this report (considering all aspects of the undertaking’s effects on historic properties) have been finalized and approved.” CEO Hunter Armistead, phone: 415-283-4000, “Our approach begins and ends with establishing trust, accountability, and transparency. We aim to sustainably develop, construct, and operate clean, renewable energy projects in a safe and responsible manner and with respect for communities and cultures where we have a presence.”


Pattern Energy is privately owned by Canada Pension Plan, Senior Managing Director Maximilian Biagosch. President Carey Kostyk, phone: 403-279-1003, “Indigenous Partnerships … Respect, Openness and Fairness … Our work brings us into contact with diverse communities across the country. We value the positive, beneficial relationships we've built with Indigenous communities.”  “Indigenous Relations … We Act on Our Words … Valard acknowledges that Indigenous Peoples have distinct historic cultural values across Canada. Recognizing this, we are committed to building mutually beneficial, sustainable and collaborative relationships and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples.”

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