Dozens of groups sue U.S. government over Seattle National Archives closure

FILE PHOTO: Washington state's attorney general Bob Ferguson (C) speaks to the media next to Washington state solicitor general Noah Purcell (R) outside the U.S. federal courthouse in downtown Seattle February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Dan Levine

(Reuters) - The U.S. states of Washington and Oregon, along with dozens of Native American tribes and cultural groups, sued the federal government on Monday to stop the sale of the National Archives building in the city of Seattle.

“Today I announced that our coalition of 40 tribes, states, and community organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court to save our National Archives and stop the federal government from scattering the DNA of our region more than 1,000 miles away,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said on Twitter.

The National Archives and Records Administration facility in Seattle was approved for eventual closure and sale last year.

The facility is among a dozen properties around the United States recommended for sale by the Public Buildings Reform Board.

“This action shows a callous disregard for the people who have the greatest interest in being able to access these profoundly important records, which include Tribal and treaty records,” the plaintiffs said in the filing made in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

After the planned sale of the facility by the government, the records would be moved to National Archives facilities in Kansas City and in Riverside, California.

The filing alleges that the public, including the concerned tribes and the state of Washington, were not given prior notice about the federal government’s plan to sell the Seattle building.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel