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Seneca Nation sues over Genesee industrial park

Tribe sues over rural industrial park that it says would infringe on its territory. Lawsuit contends procedural shortcomings.
Credit: Provided by GCEDC

Efforts to develop a large industrial park in Genesee County using tens of millions of dollars from New York State’s Buffalo Billion program are facing a new challenge — a lawsuit filed by the Tonawanda Seneca Nation.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in state Supreme Court in Genesee County, the Nation is challenging the findings of the Genesee County Economic Development Center that determined, following a formal environmental review, that plans for the development of Plug Power’s new hydrogen fuel facility at its industrial park in the Town of Alabama would have no adverse impact on the nation’s territory as a “property of religious and cultural significance.” 

The lawsuit focuses on a particular area of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation’s territory known as the “Big Woods,” a dense forest area located on the western end of what’s formally known as the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park, a 1,250-acre industrial site under development in the rural Town of Alabama. Tonawanda Seneca leaders describe the “Big Woods” as “sacred” hunting grounds and argue that the Plug Power project represents an infringement on the nation’s territory. 

For more on this story, please visit the Investigative Post website.