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Resighini Rancheria

Social Justice

The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) has specific stipulations that would strip the rights of the Resighini Rancheria and other federally recognized Tribes, such as the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation. Authorizing legislation thta stalled in the House (HR-3398) and the Senate (SB-1851) would include implementation of the KBRA, which changes the role of the government from delivering water to meet the needs of fish and Tribes as a priority to water delivery to the Klamath Irrigation Project (KBRA 15.3.9):

"The United States, acting in its capacity as trustee for the Federally-recognized tribes of the Klamath Basin, hereby provides interim Assurances as stated in Section 15.3.8.B, and conditional permanent Assurances that it will not assert: (i) tribal water or fishing right theories or tribal trust theories in a manner, or (ii) tribal water or trust rights, whatever they may be, in a manner that will interfere with the diversion, use or reuse of water for the Klamath Reclamation Project....”

By signing the KBRA and KHSA, the Yurok Tribe (15.3.6 B,i,a) and Karuk Tribe (15.3.7 B,i,a) agree that:

“All claims resulting from (1) water management decisions, including the failure to act, or (2) the failure to protect, or to prevent interference with, the Tribes’ water or water rights, that relate to damages, losses, or injuries to water, water rights, land, or natural resources due to loss of water or water rights (including damages, losses, or injuries to hunting, fishing, gathering rights or other activities due to loss of water or water rights).”

Dead fish, Klamath Ffsh kill of, 2002Klamath Basin Water Users would retain their water rights (see KBWU Fact Sheet) and under the Drought Plan associated with the KBRA, only water rights recognized by the Oregon Water Rights Division would have standing in decisions regarding water allocation. This excludes any claims to water rights by Lower Klamath River Tribes.

The Drought Plan also does not guarantee flows needed for salmon. The KBRA Appendix E-5 states that flows below the current location of Iron Gate Dam will fall to as low as 440 cubic feet per second (cfs). However, flows of 752 cfs in September 2002 caused the adult salmon kill of 70,000 fish. (See Resighini Draft Drought Plan Comments).

Hoopa Valley Tribe Attorney Thomas Schlosser published an article recently on the social injustice related to the KHSA and KBRA implementation:

"Draft legislation, prescribed by the February 18, 2010 Klamath River Hydroelectric Agreement and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, would release the United States from its trust duty to protect the rights of Indian tribes in the Klamath River Basin......Agreements prioritize the water rights of non-Indian irrigation districts and utility customers over first-in-time Indian water and fishing rights."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) social justice policy states

"No group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies."

Algae blooms in Iron Gate ReservoirSimilarly, Executive Order 12898 prohibits

"disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.”

In fact the KBRA and KHSA favor Upper Basin water users and the lack of substantive action on nutrient pollution and insufficient water allocation for salmon would continue to cause hardship for members of the Resighini Rancheria and other indigenous peoples reliant on the Klamath River's health. We can't wait until 2020 to get Klamath dams out!

Both the KBRA and KHSA will be terminated automatically on December 31, 2012 because there will be no authorizing legislation by that date. Join us in opposing extension of the Klamath Settlement.


References

Guillen, G. 2003. Klamath River fish die-off, September 2002: Report on estimate of mortality. Report number AFWO-01-03 . U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office. Arcata, CA. 35 pp. [425kb] www.krisweb.com/biblio/klamath_usfws_guillen_2003_killnumbers.pdf

King, T.F. 2004. First Salmon: The Klamath Cultural Riverscape and The Klamath River Hydroelectric Project. Performed for the Klamath River Intertribal Fish and Water Commission. 69 p.

Klamath Basin Water Users (KBWU). 2010. Klamath Basin Restoration Act and Klamath Reclamation Project Related Issues. Authors Nancy and Steve Kandra for the KBWU, Klamath Falls, OR. 2 p.

Resighini Rancheria. 2011a. Comments on the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement Draft Drought Plan. Memo from Rick Dowd Resighini Rancheria Tribal Council Chair to contract staff coordinator Ed Sheets. April 7, 2011. Resighini Rancheria, Klamath, CA. 22 p.

Resighini Rancheria. 2011b. Cover Letter from Chairman Dowd for Resighini DEIS/DEIR comments to Liz Vasquez, U.S. BOR. Resighini Rancheria, Klamath, CA. December 27, 2011. 2 p.

Resighini Rancheria. 2011c. Resighini Rancheria Comments on the Klamath Hydroelectric Project Facilities Removal Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). Filed with DOI December 27, 2011. Resighini Rancheria, Klamath, CA. 37 p.

Schlosser, T. P. 2011. Dewatering Trust Responsibility: The New Klamath River Hydroelectric and Restoration Agreements. Washington Journal of Environmental Policy and Law, Summer 2011, p 42-77.

Sheets, E. 2011. Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement Drought Plan. Final Version July 11, 2011. Ed Sheets Consulting, Portland, OR and Clinton, WA. 38 p.