RFRA challenge by Native Americans to solar project rejected

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In La Cuna De Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee v. U.S. Department of the Interior2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97759 (CD CA, July 13, 2012), a California federal district court rejected a claim by a Native American group that a solar energy generation project on federal land approved by the government will substantially burden their religious exercise in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. According to the court: “Alleging that the Project impedes Plaintiff’s access to a religious site [the Salt Song Trails] is simply not enough to suggest that the Plaintiffs are deprived of the kind of benefit protected by RFRA….Neither do Plaintiffs demonstrate how the Project forces them to act contrary to their religious beliefs….”