Native Americans argue in court that 2 mining projects would destroy religious sites


Two large mines important for America’s green energy transition are being fought in federal court by Native Americans who say the developments would destroy sacred, religious sites.


In the West, the fate of two large mines now rests with a federal appeals court. Those mines are considered important for the country’s green energy transition. Native Americans are arguing the mines, on federal land once controlled by tribes, would destroy their sacred religious sites. NPR’s Kirk Siegler reports on the legal question of blocking big development projects for religious reasons.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: On a recent morning outside a federal courthouse in Pasadena, Calif., Josh Dini led a traditional prayer.

JOSH DINI: (Non-English language spoken).

SIEGLER: Holding an eagle staff, Dini and others are protesting what would be the largest lithium mine in the U.S. on federal land in northern Nevada. Inside the courthouse, there was a last-ditch appeal going on by tribes and environmentalists to block it.

DINI: It’s going to happen. I mean, it’s – they’ve tooken over our lands since the beginning of time. What do we do? We continue the prayer. We stay in prayer, and we pray for those that are up there that are destroying the land.

SIEGLER: A member of the Walker River Paiute Tribe of Nevada, Dini considers that land ancestral territory. It’s believed to be the site

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