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Browsing the archives for the Tribes category.

KBRA has always been a fraud

Federal gov & land grabs, Karuk Tribe on Klamath, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath River & Dams, Op-ed, Tribes, Yurok Tribe

By Liz Bowen

It looks like the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement is falling apart, which it should!

The County of Siskiyou was never allowed to be included as a “stakeholder” and, yet, 3 of the 4 dams tagged for destruction were located in Siskiyou.

We were over-ridden and ignored, but have become an outspoken advocate for saving the Klamath dams, because the dams preserve water quality, wildlife, fish and the communities of Siskiyou County.

Lies, deceit and fraud were rampant by the Greenie groups, Tribal leaders, federal and state agencies. I am a witness to it.  I have reported on this outrageous situation since the fraudulent listing of the coho salmon, in the Northern California area ONLY, by both the feds in 1996 and California  Fish and Game Commission in 2002.

Destroying the dams will kill at least three years of returning salmon runs — as admitted by Dept. of Fish and Game on April 1, 2010 at a meeting in Yreka, CA. How will that save the salmon?

The Irongate Dam Fish Hatchery, destined for demolition, also grows millions of salmon and steelhead for release each year. How will that improve fish populations if the fish hatchery is gone?

With no dams for flood or drought control, how will fish and wildlife have sufficient water as the Klamath is not a year-round natural high-flow river?

The KBRA is a political hot potato created to destroy salmon runs, wildlife, water quality and the economy of Siskiyou County.

I am certainly looking forward to the continued demise of the KBRA.


Tribes eye leaving Klamath Basin deals

Karuk Tribe on Klamath, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath River & Dams, Tribes, Yurok Tribe



By Will Houston, Eureka Times-Standard
Posted: 09/15/15, 10:58 PM PDT | Updated: 39 secs ago
Five years of negotiations that went into the Klamath Basin agreements between tribes, irrigators, farmers and governments are starting to unravel as the three bills that encapsulate the accord remain stalled in Congress.
The Yurok Tribe announced its notice to withdraw from the agreement on Tuesday, with the Karuk Tribe set to withdraw at the end of the year if Congress does not act, according to Karuk Tribe Klamath Coordinator Craig Tucker.
“We are continuing to have conversations with congressional offices,” he said, stating that he had traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to address these issues. “I do think it’s possible that we could pull this thing off in the end. But time is growing very short.”
In its notice, the Yurok Tribe states that since the first draft of the agreement was approved in 2010, many of the agreed upon conditions have been altered and had, in some instances, caused the tribe to consider withdrawing from the agreements.
“Unfortunately, Congress has failed to pass legislation authorizing the agreements, and over time the bargained for benefits of the agreements have become unachievable,” the notice states. “The tribe is left with no choice other than to withdraw from the Klamath Agreements.”
Tucker said that the Klamath Tribes of Oregon — the tribal government made up of the Klamath and Modoc tribes and Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians — also plan to withdraw from the agreements if no action is taken. Calls to the Klamath Tribes of Oregon for comment were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.
The status of the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians had been terminated by Congress in 1954, and their 1,400 square mile reservation sold off, becoming ranches, rural subdivisions, private timberlands, and parts of two national forests. Since tribal status was restored in 1986, the tribes have been working to regain some of the reservation as an economic base.
The Klamath Basin agreements contain three major compromises that were made as recently as April 2014. Under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River would be removed to help salmon, promote water quality restoration and to provide farmers more concrete assurances on irrigation expectations. Both agreements require approval by Congress, but were stalled by opposition among House Republicans.
Last year, a third agreement known as the Upper Klamath Basin Agreement was made between Klamath Basin irrigators and the tribes. Under that agreement, ranchers and farmers on the upper basin would reduce water withdrawals to increase flows into Upper Klamath Lake by 30,000 acre feet, benefiting both endangered sucker fish, salmon and downstream tribes.
The agreement was signed on April 18, after 30 years of a process known as adjudication, to settle water rights in the Sycan, Wood and Williamson rivers, which flow through the former reservation lands of the Klamath Tribes into Upper Klamath Lake. The process ended with the tribes gaining senior water rights. But this third agreement has also been stalled in a House committee and is meeting the same opposition among House Republicans as the other two agreements, Tucker said.
“We hope to solve this problem through this negotiated agreement,” he said. “It’s like Congress would prefer to see us fight with one another instead of solve a problem. For me it’s been really depressing. I felt like we did the right thing.”
Should Congress fail to act on the three bills, Tucker said, many farmers on the basin would be left “high and dry” as the Klamath Tribes of Oregon would be prone to exercise their senior water rights, putting many farmers with junior rights out of business.
In California, Tucker said that the long-standing battles between tribes, governments, irrigators and farmers over water rights would likely resume with the Klamath River fish paying the price. The Karuk Tribe would also have to attempt to convince the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to not renew the dam licenses for the four Klamath River dams that would have been removed if the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement was approved.
“FERC has never ordered a dam removal successfully,” Tucker said. “Settlement agreements are how dam removals happen. If this agreement flops, we’re letting a huge opportunity slip through our fingers.”
Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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Yurok Tribe pulls out of Klamath River agreement

KBRA or KHSA, Tribes, Yurok Tribe

Del Norte Triplicate

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

September 17, 2015 04:28 pm

The historic agreement designed to end long-standing water wars between fish advocates and farmers throughout the 16,000-square-mile Klamath River Basin appears to be facing collapse.

On Tuesday, the Yurok Tribe — one of three key Klamath River Indian tribes that have signed onto the consensus — announced it will be withdrawing from the Klamath Agreements, which have not been able to get the U.S. congressional approval needed for implementation.

“Unfortunately, Congress has failed to pass legislation authorizing the agreements, and over time the bargained-for benefits of the agreements have become unachievable. The Tribe is left with no choice other than to withdraw from the Klamath Agreements,” states the Yurok Tribe’s Notice of Withdrawal.

The Karuk Tribe and the Klamath Tribes of Oregon will also pull out from the deal if the agreements continue to languish in Congress, according to Craig Trucker, Klamath Coordinator for the Karuk Tribe. Calls to the Klamath Tribes were not returned Wednesday.

The Klamath Agreements refer to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the politically connected Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), which together would remove four aging hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River and invest hundreds of millions of dollars for salmon restoration into the basin while securing guaranteed water flows for farmers in the basin.

Since 2014, the Klamath Agreements have also been connected to the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement, which was negotiated between the Klamath Tribes of Oregon — a single tribal government representing three tribal peoples — and irrigators.  The agreement guaranteed 30,000 acre feet of in-flows to Upper Klamath Lake benefitting endangered sucker fish in the lake and downstream users as well as an economic development plan for Klamath Tribes that would create a timber industry for the tribe.

That agreement was sought to bring stability to farmers and ranchers of the Upper Klamath after the Klamath Tribes won the most senior water rights above Upper Klamath Lake in March 2013.

In June 2013, Klamath Tribes exercised their newly-awarded rights by making a call for water they are allocated, which during a drought year, meant less or no water for junior water rights holders.

Although the 2014 agreement was heralded by Oregon’s governor and U.S. senators as a historic compromise to heal the river basin and the people that rely on it, the Yurok Tribe was left out of negotiations — despite promises to the contrary — causing a bitter rift.

“The Upper Klamath Basin parties during negotiations of the KBRA had assured the Yurok Tribe that they would address how the Tribe would be involved in governance and technical forums in the Upper Klamath Basin. The Tribe reminded various parties of this and requested to be involved in the Upper Klamath Basin negotiations,” the Yurok Tribe’s notice states. “The Tribe was not invited to participate in the negotiation of this agreement. This represented a return to the old Oregon-California/Upper Klamath-Lower Klamath division of the Klamath River system rather than the comprehensive approach taken by the Klamath Agreements.”

The Yurok Tribe did not respond to request for comment regarding the notice of withdrawal.

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, a longtime supporter of the Klamath Agreements, issued a statement saying he still believes that the accord is the “best way forward” but that his patience is also wearing thin.

“While I am disappointed by the Yurok Tribe’s change of heart on the Klamath agreements, I share their frustration with the lack of action in Congress over the past three years,” Huffman’s statement said. “This historic consensus effort to remove Klamath River dams and restore one of the most important salmon rivers on the West Coast is premised on congressional authorization, and as years tick by with little action by Congress the obvious risk is that the stakeholder consensus starts to unravel.”

Other parties closely involved with the Klamath Basin and its water struggles believe the Klamath Agreements’ days are done.

“We consider these to be zombie agreements. They don’t have a chance at life. They just keep trucking along because the most powerful interests — Pacificorp and the irrigators — really want them to pass, but they don’t really work,” said Jim McCarthy, communications director and southern Oregon program manager for WaterWatch.

WaterWatch is a conservation group that was party to the Klamath Agreements negotiations until being “involuntarily expelled,” along with Oregon Wild, for disagreeing with the deal’s mandate of commercial farming in the National Wildlife Refuges of the Upper Klamath, according to WaterWatch.

“These agreements don’t work because they’re based on make-believe water and won’t provide the flows that salmon need. They don’t solve the fundamental problem of over-appropriation in the basin. We need basinwide water-use reduction,” said McCarthy.

McCarthy said that WaterWatch believes the four PacifiCorp owned dams on the Klamath will be removed without legislation and hundreds of million in taxpayer funds because it’s the most economically feasible option for the power company, which would be required to install a costly fish ladder to continue operation of the dams otherwise.

The hope of the Klamath Agreements passing has actually prevented the relicensing process that would likely end in dam removal from moving forward, McCarthy said. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been allowing the dams to continue operation on temporary annual operating licenses since 2006, when the long-term licenses expired and negotiations for the Klamath Agreements first began.

PacifiCorp, which operates as Pacific Power in Oregon and California, has already collected more than $1.1 million from Del Norte County ratepayers for the removal of the four Klamath dams. Pacific Power has collected more than $2.3 million for dam removal from ratepayers in Siskiyou County where the Klamath Agreements have been akin to political kryptonite.

Some former Siskiyou County supervisors lost re-election campaigns due to their support of the agreements. In a recent statement, Tucker said the bills representing the Klamath Agreements have been stalled by Siskiyou County’s congressional representative, Congressman Doug LaMalfa.

Although Tucker and the Karuk Tribe are still hoping to move forward with Klamath Agreements legislations, they realize the political realities might decide the deal’s fate for them.

“These drought years are really hard on the salmon and if Congress can’t get with the program and make it happen, we’re going to do it through the courts and better venues. You can’t make laws with the Congress you want, you have to make laws with the Congress you have,” Tucker said, adding that the has nothing but respect for the Yurok Tribal Council and staff. “We do respect the Yurok Tribe’s decision to make a decision that they think is right for them.”

Some see the Yurok Tribe’s announcement as the first step in healing division among Klamath River tribes that was created from the Klamath Agreements.

Felice Pace, a longtime environmental activist of the Klamath River Basin that maintains KlamBlog, a blog with Klamath River-related news, said he was hopeful that the unity needed for true basin-wide restoration will be restored.

“I am encouraged that the Yurok Tribe has taken this step because in my opinion the tribe is much stronger when the three lower basin tribes are united,” Pace said.

Statements from the group, Honor the Treaty of 1864, a group of Klamath Tribes members voicing opposing views from the Klamath Tribes’ council illustrates the divide:  “Many tribal members no longer have contact with family and close friends over divisive and destructive KBRA politics.

“Others have been denied tribal employment based solely on their stance regarding the dubious Klamath Basin water agreements,” the Honor the Treaty of 1864 statement says.  “The KBRA does nothing to heal historical and spiritual damages for Klamath, Modoc, Yahooskin people. By securing water primarily for agricultural purposes, the KBRA and associated documents perpetuate these damages and continue to inflict pain, trauma and division amongst our people.”


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55,000 Marijuana Plants Eradicated During ‘Operation Yurok’, Says Tribe

CRIMINAL, Yurok Tribe

Lost Coast Outpost

 Andrew Goff

Friday, July 24 @ 11:20 a.m.

Today, the Yurok Tribe released numerous photos taken during the recent multi-agency “Operation Yurok” marijuana grow raids on tribal land. According to the tribe, the multi-site sweep lead to the eradication of somewhere in the neighborhood of 55,000 growing plants.

More in the Yurok Tribe release below:

This year’s Operation Yurok resulted in the eradication of approximately 55,000 marijuana plants. Large-scale cannabis cultivation, on and near the Yurok Reservation, is responsible for robbing millions of gallons of cold water from several tributaries that feed the Klamath River. The main purpose of the two-week, collaborative operation was to return as much water as possible to the Klamath and the Tribe’s community water systems, which are located downstream of many of the illegal pot plantations. Large quantities of chemical fertilizers, as well as illegal grading and trash dumping, were a common visage at the environmentally destructive grow sites.

Currently, the Klamath River is suffering from salmon-stressing, warm temperatures and low flows. Earlier this week, the Yurok Fisheries Program found adult Chinook salmon infected with Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich), the same deadly disease responsible for the 2002 fish kill. The pathogen thrives in warm, slow flowing water.

Please help get the word out. It is illegal to grow marijuana on the Yurok Reservation.

MORE photos and article at:


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Pit River Tribe and self-goverance and pot raid


 Pit River chairman upset by pot raid. Calls actions a ‘serious assault to the tribe’s right to self-goverance”


By LEE JUILLERAT, Herald and News 7/14/15

Mickey Gemmill Jr., chairman of the Pit River Tribe, says he is disappointed with last week’s raid of marijuana grow operations in Modoc County, including one involving the Pit River Tribe.
Agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Drug Enforcement Administration raided two sites on tribal lands near Alturas last Wednesday. According to a new release from the agencies, law enforcement officers, including the Modoc County Sheriff ’s Department, seized at least 12,000 marijuana plants and more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana.
“The marijuana grows in question have received substantial attention in Modoc County, as has the U.S. Department of Justice’s guidance relating to marijuana cultivation on tribal lands,” the release said. One site was an indoor grow operation at the Alturas Indian Rancheria, inside the tribe’s former Event Center near the Desert Rose Casino. The second site was the XL Ranch adjacent to Highway 395 along the Pit River. According to the release, the XL site included 40 newly constructed greenhouses, each capable of growing about 1,000 plants, and a gable-roofed structure that boosted the square footage another 50 percent.
“Both of the grow operations, which appear to have been operating in conjunction with each other, were well in excess of the locally enacted marijuana cultivation applicable to county land,” the release said. “The volume of marijuana that the XL facility alone was capable of producing, estimated at 40,000-60,000 plants, far exceeds any prior known commercial marijuana grow operation anywhere within the 34-county Eastern District.
“According to tribal representatives, all of the marijuana cultivated at both facilities was intended to be distributed off tribal lands at various unidentified locations. As indicated in the search warrant affidavits, the investigation to date indicates both operations may have been financed by a third party foreign national.”
In comments to the Herald and News and in a news release, Gemmill disputed some of those claims and emphasized the Pit River Tribe is not affiliated with the Alturas Rancheria.
The Pit River Tribe has about 3,000 members and has manages about 14,000 acres of land, including about 10,000 in Modoc County near Alturas. The Alturas Rancheria has five members and tribal holdings of about 20 acres.
Gemmill said federal agencies failed to provide any warning before last week’s raid, despite the Pit River Tribe’s efforts to follow guidelines.
“Federal agents destroyed the patient cooperative’s plants and seized confidential patient information, among other documents,” he said in news release. “We are very disappointed with the decision of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as the lead federal agency, to descend on sovereign land with an army of nearly 50 law enforcement officers. That the BIA would take such a disrespectful approach to an Indian tribe on its own land is a serious assault to the tribe’s right to self-governance.”
“This action was especially appalling given that some tribal members were subjected to excessive police force, severely injured and arrested during the search,” Gemmill said. “We believe that it is important to remind the BIA of its responsibility to protect Indian tribes, not to undermine legitimate tribal efforts to create jobs and improve the health and welfare of tribal members.”
“Needless to say, we intend to have conversations in the coming days with the Department of Justice and the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs,” said Gemmill.
The Pit River Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe of 11 autonomous bands of Indians with tribal lands in Shasta, Lassen, Siskiyou and Modoc counties. The Pit River Tribe has no affiliation with the Alturas Indian Rancheria and is not cooperating with any marijuana cultivation being conducted on the 20 acre Alturas Rancheria.

Pit River Tribe asserts group is following the law


by LEE JUILLERAT, Herald and News 7/14/15

Details of the Pit River Tribe’s marijuana grow operation in Modoc County, near Alturas, have been released by tribal Chairman Mickey Gemmill Jr.
He said earlier this year, the Pit River Tribe “joined the ranks of California and nearly two dozen other state governments by adopting a regulatory program that legalizes the cultivation of medical marijuana on tribal land. The tribe’s decision was in response to the Oct. 28, 2014, guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice indicating that such activity would not trigger federal enforcement action, provided that measures were taken to prevent delineated conduct of concern to law enforcement.
“The tribe’s Medical Marijuana Program Ordinance is consistent with California’s two laws governing cultivation, distribution and use of medical marijuana, the Compassionate Use Act and the Medical Marijuana Program Act, and in fact, goes well beyond those statutes to ensure compliance with the eight federal law enforcement priorities,” Gemmill said.
“Tribal law requires that all medical marijuana be grown only for qualified medical marijuana patients residing in California. The tribe also has adopted stringent regulations on inventory control, quality assurance, site security, member-patient criteria, plant tracking and plant limits, among other requirements, all of which go much further than the laws of the state.”
According to Gemmill, the Medical Marijuana Program “authorizes the cooperative association of qualified patients to cultivate marijuana for medical use, as long as they operate on a non-profit basis. No other individual or entity is permitted to cultivate marijuana on tribal land. In accordance with these laws, Pomari-Awte, an arm of the tribe with authority to administer the operational aspects of the Medical Marijuana Program, approved the creation of a patient cooperative to cultivate medical marijuana on the Tribe’s land in Modoc County. Thereafter, program administrators reviewed and approved membership applications from qualified patients wishing to join the cooperative, known as High Desert Farms.”
Gemmill said the tribe created an independent regulatory agency to monitor and oversee the program to ensure compliance with tribal law, relevant federal policy and applicable California law.
“Each medical marijuana plant is assigned to a particular patient, with each plant bearing the identification of the patient for whom it is cultivated and a unique serial number to ensure that each plant can be tracked. Again, these provisions go far beyond anything required by California state law, and are modeled after the more robust regulatory schemes in other medical marijuana states,” Gemmill added.
He said the tribe is experienced at operating within highly regulated industries, noting, “We’ve managed a well-regulated gaming facility for 19 years and felt very comfortable creating a robust regulatory environment for the Medical Marijuana Program.”
“The Oct. 28, 2014, Department of Justice’s guidance memorandum addressing marijuana operations in Indian Country expressly instructs each U.S. Attorney to meaningfully engage in government-to-government consultation with Indian tribes in their district that seek to authorize marijuana activity on tribal lands,” Gemmill said in the release.
“We have been transparent in our conversations with the federal government and made no secret of our intent to exercise our sovereignty in the manner we believe appropriate. We consulted with the U.S. Attorney’s Office prior to implementing our ordinance and continued to consult with that office and other government officials throughout its implementation.”
He said the tribe provided the attorney’s office a copy of the Medical Marijuana Program Ordinance and a comparative analysis of how the program complies with the guidance memorandum and compares to state and local laws.
“We pointed out the regulatory safeguards adopted by the tribe to comply with the enforcement priorities outlined by the Department of Justice in the guidance memo,” Gemmill said. “We asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to identify any concerns and to advise the tribal government before taking any enforcement action against the tribal project.”

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Multi-Agency ‘Operation Yurok’ Goes After Marijuana Grows Described as Largest Ever in Tribe’s Territory

CRIMINAL, Yurok Tribe

Lost Coast Outpost

Ryan Burns /

Tuesday, July 14 @ 3:33 p.m. / marijuana , Tribes

What follows is not your typical press release. The official statement from the Yurok Tribe dispenses with the clinical detachment usually seen in law enforcement releases, instead lambasting “greedy growers looking to make a quick buck.” Describing deforestation, illegal buildings and mass amounts of waste, the statement says, “The industrial-scale grows resemble mountaintop coal mining [more] than any type of agriculture.”

Here’s the full release:

An early morning raid Monday marked the beginning of an aggressive effort, led by the Yurok Tribe, the California National Guard Counterdrug Unit and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, to eradicate dozens of environmentally destructive marijuana farms from the Yurok Reservation and adjacent lands.

“The illegal plantations that we are targeting pose a severe threat to our natural resources, our water and our way of life,” said Susan Masten Vice Chairperson of the Yurok Tribe. “It breaks my heart to see these 10,000 plant grows sucking our watersheds dry, while our community is on the brink of running out of water. It is unacceptable and it is immoral.”

Monday’s operation removed multiple illegal marijuana crops, including one that an environmental scientist at the scene described as an “environmental disaster.” Dozens of abandoned vehicles, 20-plus broken car batteries and several cubic yards of household waste were strewn across the grow site and nearby ravine. Numerous tires, refrigerators and piles of grow-related garbage were also found on the property, which had recently been illegally graded to cover up some of the toxic debris. The collaborative effort will continue into next week.

The unlawful pot plantations are diverting untold millions of gallons of water from the creeks that feed the Tribe’s community water systems, which are barely producing enough to satisfy the basic needs of 300-plus families on the east side of the reservation. The illegal diversions are also impacting crucial cold streams that are critical for fish health. Currently, the temperature of the Klamath River is nearly 75 degrees, a significant threat to the salmon starting to migrate upriver to spawn. High numbers of the anadromous fish are already holding at the creek mouths, where it is up to 20 degrees cooler, to regulate their body temperatures. In times of drought, these fish could not survive without these cold water refuges.

Operation Yurok is a collaboration between Tribal, federal and state law enforcement, including: California National Guard Counterdrug Unit, Bureau of Indian Affairs, CA Fish and Wildlife, Water Quality Control Board and others. The collaborative effort was initiated after the Yurok Tribe reached out to California Governor Jerry Brown for assistance. Governor Brown responded by sending members of the state’s National Guard to aid in reining in the enormous environmental impact and massive water theft uncovered during a lengthy investigation into dozens of industrial-size marijuana plantations. Prior to the main operation, Tribal and County law enforcement took down a large grow, containing more than 10,000 plants.

“These pot farms are the largest that we’ve ever seen in the Tribe’s ancestral territory,” said Yurok Public Safety Chief Leonard Masten. “We are going to file charges for every environmental crime and hold accountable the individuals responsible for damaging the Tribe’s sacred resources.”

In the past five years, a deluge of clandestine cannabis growers from all over the United States have moved to lands within and adjacent to the Yurok Reservation. The combination of the mountainous terrain and minimally funded law enforcement has made it a desirable destination for greedy growers looking to make a quick buck. The migration is eerily similar to what happened to the Tribe in 1849, when men throughout the U.S. flocked to Northern California in search of a shiny, yellow metal.

“First, our Tribe was hit by the Gold Rush and then it was unregulated, clear-cut logging,” Vice Chairperson Masten said. “The Green Rush threatens to destroy what is left of our forests and rivers.”

Last year, a coalition, comprised of many of the same law enforcement agencies, conducted a similar operation and found horrifying abuses to the environment, such as grading in sensitive riparian areas, illegal dumping of petroleum products and the depositing of waist-high piles of human excrement near waterways. At one grow site on the south side of Bald Hills Road, a four-inch pipe and a massive generator were used to divert every last drop of a cold creek to a large plantation. At another location, east of Weitchpec, a group of growers deforested an entire mountaintop to grow 5,000 plants. They used some of the logs to build a two-story shanty and the rest of the timber to construct giant barricades around the property.

The industrial-scale grows resemble mountaintop coal mining [more] than any type of agriculture. These deep scars on the ecological landscape are challenging and extremely expensive to remediate. At one site, cleaned up by the Yurok Tribe and the California National Guard, it cost $30,000 to remove tons of trash, dismantle the hundreds of yards of hose and properly dispose of hazardous chemicals.

Last year’s collaborative effort netted more than 15,000 pot plants. It is estimated that it takes three to six gallons of water per day to grow one marijuana plant. The crop would have conservatively wasted 5 million gallons of water meant for the community, as well as fish and wildlife. What is not taken into consideration are leaks in the miles of plastic pipe used to move water from a spring or creek to the growing operation, a common feature at the 43 sites visited last year. Officers witness water trickling out of pipes onto the ground at almost every plantation.

This year, Operation Yurok is expected to eradicate at least three times as many crops.

“We are trying to send a loud message that illegal pot growers are not welcome on Tribal lands. Operation Yurok will continue until we stop the theft of our water and egregious environmental destruction,” concluded Vice Chairperson Masten.

The Yurok Tribe is largest federally recognized Tribe in California. The natural resource-based Tribe is best known for the implementation of leading-edge watershed restoration projects, language preservation program and cultural protection effort. The Tribe is a Zero Tolerance Ordinance, making all illicit drugs illegal on the Reservation. 


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Medford Raises Conflict of Interest Question to B.I.A.



The City of Medford has sent a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs claiming that a conflict of interest exists within the federal process over the Coquille Indian Tribe’s proposed casino in south Medford.

The city points out the environmental contractor selected to prepare the environmental impact statement , Analytical Environmental Services, already has the Coquille Tribe as a client. The city is concerned A.E.S. would fail to objectively analyze the Coquille’s application.

The letter states A.E.S. has a history of conflict of interest complaints and their relationship with the B.I.A. involves several employees switching jobs between the agency and the business.

The correspondence outlines the many negative effects officials fear the casino would have on the neighborhood.
Posted on 3/13/15 9:32AM by C


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Water settlement comes into question

Karuk Tribe on Klamath, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath River & Dams, Klamath Tribe, Tribes

PNP comment: The forested lands the Klamath Tribes thought they would receive through the bargain in the KBRA is now gone. Hum, apparently games are going on in the background, but luckily that Tribes now see little use for the KBRA since their promised bribes are gone. — Editor Liz Bowen

Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2015 12:00 am

Tribes remain hopeful that Congress will approve legislation

Three Basin tribes have begun a mediation process that could end in termination of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA).

“Our concern is that legislation has not passed. We are unable to obtain our bargained-for benefits,” said Karuk Tribes Spokesman Craig Tucker. “We remain steadfastly in support of the agreements, but we can’t wait forever for Congress to do its thing.”

The Klamath Tribes, the Karuk Tribe, and the Yurok Tribe have each filed dispute initiation notices, which is the first step in the resolution process outlined in the KBRA. The Yurok Tribe could not be reached for comment.

At a Feb. 28 general council meeting, Klamath Tribes members voted unanimously to file a dispute initiation notice. According to the KBRA, if a party to the settlement believes the bargained-for benefits are no longer achievable, the party can submit a dispute initiation notice within 60 days of Dec. 31, 2014.

Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry said the Tribes do not want to terminate the agreement; however, if they decided at a later date to do so, it would have been too late to file a dispute resolution notice.

“The Klamath Tribes are committed to the agreements if fully implemented and we remain hopeful that our concerns will be addressed,” Gentry said in a statement.

“However, the sale of the Mazama Forest land is of grave concern to our membership, and we felt we had to officially register this concern by initiating the dispute resolution processes before the deadline.”

The Klamath Tribes filed the notice after learning the 90,000-acre Mazama Forest, which encompasses a mass of former reservation land, was sold in mid-February. Acquiring the forest is a key component of the KBRA, and the Tribes hoped Congress would appropriate funds to purchase it as part of Senate Bill 133, a three-part bill aimed at relieving Basin-wide water woes.

Gentry said the Tribes reached out to the new landowners about acquiring the property. He said the new owners are not interested in selling the parcel.

According to a news release, the KBRA states if funding for the forest is “not timely provided, the Klamath Tribes shall have a right to withdraw from this agreement.”

“We have consistently said that land recovery is an essential component of these agreements for the Klamath Tribes,” Gentry said. “We would all like to see Congress pass the necessary legislation to complete the terms of the agreements so that we can move forward as a community. Unfortunately, at this moment our tribal members feel that we have traveled the path of broken promises too many times, and must be proactive in finding a solution to ensure all parties achieve their bargained for benefits.”

SB 133 was referred to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 8. The committee will consider the bill before possibly sending it to the House or Senate. The bill must be passed by the House and Senate in identical form and signed by the president before it can become law.

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AG Holder LEGALIZES Indian Tribes in California to Grow and Sell Marijuana

Federal gov & land grabs, Tribes

February 22, 2015

By Stephen Frank

California Political Review


In California when you think of gambling, you think of an Indian Tribe casino. If you want to save money on a carton of cigarettes, you save tax money by buying them on a tribal reservation. Now, if you want pot, without much of a hassle, it looks like the tribes are taking that market over. Which may be why when the 2016 ballot measure to legalize marijuana will pit tribal money against the measure vs. Big Tobacco money in support of the measure.

“The Department of Justice recently released a memo saying it would treat American Indian tribes with the same hands-off approach it treats states that have legalized pot.

That move inadvertently sparked interest among tribes in getting into the pot business. While many see dollar signs, others worry about the destructive legacy substance abuse has had on Indian Country.”

In effect, Eric Holder has legalized marijuana in California, legalized the growing and selling of marijuana in California—while giving a monopoly on all this to the tribes.  — Stephen Frank

As Feds Turn Blind Eye To Pot In Reservations, Some Tribes See Dollar Signs

Laurel Morales, KPBS, 2/22/15

Havasupai Chairman Rex Tilousi recently sang for a crowd in Flagstaff. He says his people have subsisted off of farming for generations so growing and selling medicinal marijuana would be a good fit.

The Havasupai Reservation is best known for its waterfalls. Tourism is the tribe’s main source of income.

The Department of Justice recently released a memo saying it would treat American Indian tribes with the same hands-off approach it treats states that have legalized pot.

That move inadvertently sparked interest among tribes in getting into the pot business. While many see dollar signs, others worry about the destructive legacy substance abuse has had on Indian Country.

Havasupai Tribe Chairman Rex Tilousi says he was relieved to hear the Justice

Department was recognizing tribal sovereignty when it comes to marijuana. His tribe has grown and smoked marijuana plants for over a century near the Grand Canyon.

“I felt very free,” he says. “I don’t have to hide behind that rock. I don’t have to go into those bushes to smoke.”

The Havasupai make what little money they have taking visitors by mule and helicopter to see their famous turquoise blue waterfalls.

However, tourism is seasonal. So Tilousi says to have another economic source like growing and selling medical marijuana would really benefit his people.

Since the Justice Department’s memo was released in December, FoxBarry Farms, has been inundated with more than a hundred calls from tribes that want to start grow operations.

“All tribes generally speaking want the same thing and that’s economic independence,” says Barry Brautman, the president of FoxBarry, who helps tribes build casinos, hotels and now medical marijuana operations.

“They want housing, healthcare, education,” he says. “They want to be able to fund those things themselves without having to ask for government’s assistance.”

A tiny northern California tribe, the Pinoleville Pomo Nation, will be the first to grow and manufacture medical marijuana. FoxBarry Farms is helping the tribe build a 10 million dollar grow house. Brautman expects to recoup his company’s investments and then some.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly’s spokesman Deswood Tome says he understands how lucrative pot could be, but also understands the drawbacks.

“This is opportunity for economic growth and jobs,” he says. “But there are so many questions that remain as to the safety of people. How is it going to be controlled? Is this going to attract the criminal element?”

Johnnie Jay smoked pot years ago and says she’s skeptical about what good a marijuana grow operation would bring her tribe.

“Somehow it would get corrupted and not be for what it was intended to be,” he says. “So it is not a good idea for our tribe’s economy, although we desperately need economic growth and opportunity.”

Hopi leadership see the earnings potential but current tribal law still considers possession of marijuana a criminal act. Many throughout Indian Country worry legalized pot could lead to some of the same painful consequences as alcohol.

For its part, The Justice Department says the intent of the memo wasn’t to motivate tribes to get into the marijuana business. It was meant to prioritize laws against gangs and violence, driving while high, and selling to minors, among other problems.


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Klamath Basin: A lesson in war tactics, bias, distortion

Agriculture, California water, Federal gov & land grabs, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath River & Dams, Klamath Tribe, Tribes, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Klamath Basin: A lesson in war tactics, bias, distortion

Western Livestock Journal

Friday, Dec. 12, 2014

Water’s for fighting, and if you’re going to fight and win, you need strategy. A few strategies famously used over the millennia have been “divide and conquer” and the old “Trojan horse” trick.
Some farmers and ranchers in Northern California and southern Oregon think that both strategies are being used against them in the Klamath River watershed. In 2002, a federal judge granted the Klamath Tribes senior water rights in the Klamath Basin. Now, at any time, the tribes could “call” their water rights and completely deny water from farmers and ranchers in the basin. A tenuous agreement was reached in 2010 that, for now, provides basin producers with enough water to keep some of them in business.
But for the agreement to stick, the tribes, environmental groups, and commercial fishermen negotiating with farmers and ranchers have demands. In the name of protecting the federally listed Coho salmon and suckerfish, they are demanding that: four significant dams be removed downstream from the basin; hundreds of miles of riparian areas be fenced throughout the entire watershed; farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin give up 30,000 acre-feet of water rights (being used to irrigate 18,000 acres); and farmers and ranchers drop their legal challenge of the tribes’ water rights.
Also necessary to finalize the agreement is federal legislation. Farmers and ranchers in the basin know they need some kind of resolution in order to avoid what happened in 2001—a complete water shut-off. But other producers and communities downstream from the dams are hollering “whoa!” So far, their opposition has been enough to stop the legislation pending in the Senate that would finalize the agreement.
ESA at work once again
Historically, the area’s farming and ranching community has stood strong together. But according to Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams, who testified before the U.S. Senate in 2013, “Our community has been divided by the age old method of ‘divide and conquer.’” It would seem that in the Klamath Basin, as in so many examples across the country, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is being wielded to control resources—and farming and ranching communities at opposite ends of the Klamath watershed are being placed in a position of opposition to one another.
How? Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry may have summarized it best when he stated, “We have successfully used regulatory tools like the Endangered Species Act… and have had some important victories in court.” He continued, “We have also learned that winning one battle does not end a long-lasting war…”
When “at war,” negotiations are sometimes necessary—and there can be casualties. But U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) has warned that Klamath Basin farmers’ and ranchers’ negotiations may not end up as fruitful as they hope.
“There’s no guarantee, if this ‘agreement’ ever gets codified by law, that someone else won’t come along and sue to deny the rest of farmers’ and ranchers’ needed water,” LaMalfa told WLJ.
“The Klamath Basin has an existing water shortage problem. Removing the dams downstream does nothing to change that. Neither will any other provisions of the ‘agreement.’ So when, lo and behold, there’s still a water problem for endangered fish, guess who’s going to be targeted to give up their water? The same farmers and ranchers who are now trying to negotiate a deal they think they can live with.”
Siskiyou County Supervisor Michael Kobseff told WLJ that litigation may not be the only way for such losses to occur. The legislative language offered this session by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) would empower the stakeholders of the agreement to amend it at any time in the future without congressional approval. “Thus setting up an unelected regional form of government in the Klamath Basin,” he said.
In other words, these elected officials say, the tentative agreement may be little more than a Trojan horse—a way to get federal legislation through to tear out the dams, with potential loss of all benefit to the producers negotiating the deal.
Meanwhile, loss of the dams will be devastating, according to local sources.
In 2013, Siskiyou County Supervisor Kobseff testified before a U.S. Senate committee regarding the implications of the dam removals.
Siskiyou is home to approximately 150 miles of the Klamath River and three of the four dams that are proposed for removal. “Except for a minority of agricultural interests receiving promises of water,” he stated, “the majority of agriculture and ranchers will suffer significant losses.”
Kobseff said loss of the dams meant more than loss of water storage. Eighty percent of Siskiyou County residents had earlier voted to oppose the removal of the dams. They provide hydropower to some 70,000 residents. No replacement source of power has been identified. The dams also serve to control catastrophic floods, have “transformed former marginal habitat into world-class fisheries,” provide water for fish in times of drought, improve water quality generally by providing a settlement basin for naturally occurring toxins, and cool the warm water coming in from the upper high desert basin in Oregon. The Iron Gate dam makes possible a fish hatchery that produces over six million salmon smolts annually, Kobseff added.
Dam removal, Kobseff noted, would prove catastrophic—not just because of the loss of the above functions, but because the removals would release nearly 20 million cubic yards of sediment loaded with toxic minerals.
“This release may result in massive destruction of the ecosystem… Although on considerably smaller scales, one need only look to the damage done by the removal of other dams (Elwha, Condit, Gold Ray, Savage Rapids) to see the destructive consequences of dam removal,” Kobseff testified.
The expected damage to the environment and economy, Kobseff explained, was rationalized on the basis that salmon will have access to approximately 35 miles of what he called “historically inconsistent and marginal habitat.”
He described the federal analysis of the dam removal proposal as “replete with examples of bias, distortion, and circumvention of legal, scientific, and scholarly standards…” He said the federal government incorrectly cited “marked declines” of fish populations in recent years. The government’s projection of economic effects was also grossly miscalculated, he said. The report cited “non-use values” amounting to $98 billion.
“Without these phantom benefits,” Kobseff asserted, “the proposal for full facilities removal has negative economic results.”
Dam removal trend?
Will dam removals on the Klamath incite a trend toward dam removal westwide? Farmers and ranchers negotiating the agreement in the Klamath Basin have been careful to point out there are special circumstances surrounding the possible dam removals in this case. But others are concerned that this dam removal, if implemented, could set a precedent. This could mean a lot to residents in the vicinity of the Grand Coulee dam and four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington, which are reportedly in the crosshairs. Of the Snake River dam removals, a representative of Save our Wild Salmon Coalition last year stated, “Of course [dam removal] is best for the salmon.”
There are many more dams being targeted across the country—just look up “dam removal” on Wikipedia. Is the Klamath Basin a special exception, or will it become the rule? Will the ESA continue to be used as “a tool,” as the Klamath Tribes spokesman put it, and will the “long-lasting war” continue? These are the questions that the agricultural community, local governments, and U.S. Congress must consider as they move forward with Klamath Basin negotiations. — Theodora Dowling, WLJ Correspondent

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