Traditional Yurok-Karuk leader Christopher (Chris) Peters recently sent an e-mail to members of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Tribes concerning the draft Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and the proposed Klamath Basin Restoration (sic) Agreement (KBRA).
Chris is the president of the Seventh Generation Fund, an international Indigenous not-for-profit organization with offices in
In his e-mail Chris states that the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) is very concerned about language in the Deals which would grant to the Department of Interior the right to sign waivers of tribal water rights and federal trust obligations for four of the five federally recognized tribes located within the
KlamBlog presents the entire call to action by Chris Peters below.
We need to think about what “our” tribal council is doing and the impact of their action on Federal Indian policy. – Housed within the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) is TERMINATION language.
If the Yurok Tribe should decide not to sign the “agreement” can we back out now? That a very good question to ask candidates for the Yurok Council – Because the federal government recently added language that stipulates that the Department of the Interior can sign the waiver of claims on behalf of tribes. You may recall from my last communication that the Yurok Tribe must sign the agreement stating we will NOT ASSERT OUR TRUST OR WATER RIGHTS. This is how they are going to “deal” with Hoopas and This is TERMINATION of Tribal Sovereign authority and it has generated MAJOR concerns among the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI).
ATNI is a regional organization comprised of Indian Tribes of Washington. Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Northern California and Alaska, who just signed a resolution expressing their opposition to ------ “any policy of the United States to terminate the rights of or impose adverse consequences upon a tribe that chooses to retain its water rights instead of settling on terms desired by the Federal Government”
They, as well as other tribal Governments nation wide are very concerned about the National significance of the “agreement” and how its termination provisions will impact federal Indian policy. ATNI intends to take their resolution to the upcoming meeting of the National Congress of American Indians that will gather in Palms Springs next week.
Below are a few other things we need to discuss with candidates seeking to be elected or re-elected to leadership positions in the Yurok Tribe. FIRST have they read and do they understand the
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1. The water balance, guaranteeing diversion of 330,000 acre-feet for irrigators, has no scientific basis and will, in 40% of water years, leave too little water in the Klamath River to meet the Coho Salmon flow requirements. There are no guaranteed flows for fish. Sec. 15.1.1.B and App. E-5. THIS WILL ALSO LEGALLY GIVE WATER RIGHT TO IRRIGATION CORPORATIONS – OUR INDIAN WATER RIGHTS!!!
2. The KBRA has no restoration goals. It establishes no target salmon run sizes or harvest goals. Thus its success can’t be measured.
3. Neither the KBRA nor the KHA requires removal of any dam. The KHA is a planning process that merely might, after 12+ years, lead to dam removal. WE NEED ACTION NOW –IN 12+ YEARS ALL THE FISH COULD BE GONE!! – ALSO IN 12 YEARS WE MIGHT HAVE ANOTHER REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION.
4. The KBRA requires Indian Tribes to waive claims of violation of trust water and fishing rights regardless of the success of restoration. Sec. 15.3.7
5. The $985 million federal appropriations called for in the KBRA will enable irrigators to increase ground water pumping, which will further deplete surface water flows in the Klamath. Sec. 15.3.1, 15.2.4, 25-28. None of this funding goes to dam removal!!!!
6. The KBRA requires parties to support water diversions and follow procedures that will weaken the effect of the Endangered Species Act. Sec. 20.3. This is critical – the Coho runs are getting so low that we need to think hard about listing them as an ENDANGERED!! IF WE WANT WILD FISH FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS OF YUROKS.
7. If funds are appropriated to purchase water to augment instream flows for the benefit of fish, the Bureau of Reclamation, not a fisheries Technical Team, will decide whether OR NOT to use the money. Sec. 19.4.4. Or maybe Gail Norton will return or al least someone equally as sinister within future Republican administrations and make the decisions.
8. The KHA gives to the Interior Secretary the Determination whether dam removal is “in the public interest,” thus delaying action while unnecessarily duplicative NEPA analysis and state CEQA analysis occurs. Sec. 3.3.1. AGAIN, A REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION MAY ASERT THAT DAM REMOVAL IN NOT IN THE PUBLIC’S BEST INTEREST.
9. The KHA prohibits the Secretary from choosing dam removal until, among other things, two States and Congress pass legislation to fund it. Sec. 3.3.4. WITH GROWING FINANCIAL PROBLEMS OF STATE GOVERNMENTS, CLIMATE CHANGE, YEARS OF DROUGHT AND MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THE
10. The KHA minimizes PacifiCorp’s required operational changes until at least 2021, strips FERC of jurisdiction while the agreement remains in place, and also protects the utility from compliance with any other measures to improve water quality. Sec. 6.1.1 and 6.3.4.A.
11. The KHA halts State water quality certification proceedings, which now are the only remaining step before FERC would force dam removal. Sec. 6.5. WE CAN NOT FORCE DAM REMOVAL WITH THE AGREEMENTS
12. The KHA sets a mere “target” of 2020 to begin dam removal but also demands $27 million in extra payments to PacifiCorp if removal begins before 2021. Sec. 7.3.3. NOW ASK YOURSELVES – WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THIS!!!!
PLEASE JOIN WITH THE GROWING NUMBERS OF YUROK AND KARUK AND SAY ---HELL NO TO BOTH THE