9th Circuit to consider Medicine Lake sacred site dispute again

A view of Medicine Lake in California. Photo from Protect Medicine Lake / Facebook

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments next week in a long-running dispute over a sacred site in northern California.

Tribes and environmental groups are trying to prevent Calpine Corporation from developing a geothermal plant on federal land in California. The coalition fears the project will harm Medicine Lake, which is known for its healing powers.

The case has been in and out of the federal courts for more than a decade with no apparent end in sight. The coalition has won some key rulings but they lost the latest round with the Bureau of Land Management, prompting a third appeal to the 9th Circuit.

The arguments take place at 11:30am on March 12 in San Francisco. The Pit River Tribe and supporters will hold a sunrise prayer ceremony and a march to the courthouse prior to the hearing and a press conference will be held afterwards.

“Medicine Lake is our church. It is there we heal our bodies and our spirits. Would you want a power plant in your church?" Pit River elder Cecilia Silvas said in a press release.

The case is Pit River Tribe v. BLM, No, 13-16961.

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