A solar project which would feed electricity to 50,000 homes in Monroe and Livingston counties was the target of protests Monday.
Native Americans representing several nations chose Indigenous Peoples' Day to speak out against Invenergy's Horseshoe Solar project. Activists say the 1,500-acre solar farm would hurt the environment, and should not be built on what they say is sacred land in the Genesee Valley.
"It’s all about being heard," said John Kane. "The biggest issue is we don’t usually get included in the conversations. So we have to sort of force our way into the conversation."
"That land over there, to me, is contested," said Paul Winnie. "We’re made up of this land, this water, this air. It's in my blood."
Invenergy says the project would create hundreds of local jobs.
Kate Millar, Horseshoe Solar project developer, released a statement Monday night, saying:
“Just as any project development process in New York requires significant planning and public involvement, Horseshoe Solar has an extensive public engagement process and we are committed to listening to the community. We are not proposing to build on burials and we are and have been actively consulting with the Nations throughout the permitting process to ensure that the fields hosting the project are carefully evaluated, surveyed, and researched, including a pedestrian survey of site areas in Rush and Caledonia. Solar power is one of the safest and cleanest sources of energy, and we look forward to continuing to receive feedback and to finding effective ways to bring homegrown, affordable power and economic investment to the region with interests of the Haudenosaunee and local communities in mind."