BlueOregon | August 18, 2014
By Michael O’Leary
“The Yakama Nation will not rest until the entire regional threat posed by the coal industry to our ancestral lands and waters is eradicated.” ~Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy.
Governor Kitzhaber’s Department of State Lands has issued a landmark denial of Oregon’s only proposed coal export terminal, keeping millions of tons of coal right where it belongs – buried in the ground.
Back in May the Yakama Nation protested that the coal terminal proposed for their traditional treaty recognized fishing grounds up on the Columbia River, near modern day Boardman, was an attack on the water, the salmon, their way of life, and a contradiction to the idea of living in balance with our surroundings.
The Australian coal mining company in question, Ambre Energy, denied the tribal claims in comments to the media and in filings to state regulators.
Evidently the claims by the coal company about where tribal fishing rights do or don’t apply were not persuasive.
In their findings released on August 18th the Department of State Lands had the final word on the matter:
“The agency record demonstrates that the project would unreasonably interfere with a small but important and and long-standing fishery in the State’s waters at the project site.”
In response to this news Yakama Chairman JoDe Goudy made the following statement:
“This is only the beginning of what I expect will be a long fight. Yakama Nation will not rest until the entire regional threat posed by the coal industry to our ancestral lands and waters is eradicated. We will continue to speak out and fight on behalf of our people, and for those things, which cannot speak for themselves, that have been entrusted to us for cultivation and preservation since time immemorial. Today, however, we thank and stand in solidarity with the State of Oregon, and celebrate its decision to protect the Columbia River from further damage and degradation.”
So what’s next?