[env-trinity] Hoopa Valley Tribe Fights for Water Funding for Trinity River Restoration

Josh Allen jallen at trinitycounty.org
Mon Jul 23 07:45:17 PDT 2007

July 22, 2007

For Immediate Release


Media Contact:     Danny Jordan

               Hoopa Valley Tribe

               (530) 625-4548

               (707) 499-8366





Hoopa, Calif. - The chief water negotiator for the Hoopa Valley Tribe
has cautioned Congress that a bill to restore the San Joaquin River will
drain funds from the Trinity River restoration project. In a public
statement on behalf of the tribe, Tribal representative Danny Jordan
noted in a public statement:


"As early as next week, the House Natural Resources Committee could move
a measure (H.R. 24) to settle water rights claims on the San Joaquin
River a step closer to enactment.  The Senate has a similar measure (S.
27) waiting in the wings.  The Hoopa Valley Tribe opposes the bill in
its present form because of its negative effect on the Trinity River and
other restoration efforts.


The San Joaquin and Trinity Rivers are bound together by a series of
dams and canals that make up the Central Valley Project as well as the
Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) enacted in 1992.  The
CVPIA was enacted to correct 70 years of  environmental damage caused by
the development and operation of the Central Valley Project.


The San Joaquin settlement proposal was first publicly unveiled in
November, 2006.  It became immediately apparent that the proposal
included provisions to tap the already over-subscribed Restoration Fund
of the CVPIA as one of its funding sources.  In February, 2007,
Department of the Interior officials agreed with the Tribe that the San
Joaquin funding proposals would divert monies away from other CVP
restoration activities. 


In March, the Tribe submitted written testimony before the House
Resource Subcommittee that demonstrated how the San Joaquin legislation
would negatively impact the Trinity River Restoration Program.
Chairwoman Grace Napolitano promised that all third party interests
would be addressed by her subcommittee.  In June, we learned that,
despite the Tribe's legal property rights in our water and fishery
resources and the United States' trust obligations to protect them, we
were not included on a list of third party interests whose rights were
to be protected before the legislation could pass.  


We are deeply disappointed by Congress' apparent disregard for the San
Joaquin bill's negative impacts on the CVPIA, Trinity River fishery
restoration, and the United States' legal trust obligations to our
Tribe. We are also disappointed that the House and Senate Democratic
leaderships' unwavering support for the "blood oath" that no amendments
be allowed to the San Joaquin settlement, even in light of its effect of
undermining the CVPIA, which they so heroically and successfully
championed in 1992.


Maybe the negotiators originally had the best of intentions with the San
Joaquin settlement, but they appear to have lost their perspective by
isolating themselves and focusing only on the San Joaquin while
neglecting the broader public interest in California water. Most
notably, even the Federal agencies broke faith with the restoration of
the Trinity River fishery and the trust obligations to our Tribe by
promising to defend the "blood oath" even when doing so is in conflict
with their environmental responsibilities and trust obligations to our


Passing the existing form of the San Joaquin legislation will mark the
first step in march to reduce or eliminate the landmark provisions for
environmental restoration embraced in the CVPIA. California is fortunate
to have six of 10 members on the Water and Power Subcommittee: Chair,
Grace Napolitano (D-38th), Jim Costa D-20th), George Miller (D-7th), Joe
Baca (D-43d), Hilda Solis (D-32d) and Ken Calvert (R-44th). We ask all
who read this to urge them to amend the San Joaquin bill to protect the
Trinity River and all other environmental restoration programs in the

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