State of Washington City and Tribal Leaders Form Coalition Against Coal Trains

AP Story here.

Early this month, the Sierra Club and other conservation groups sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue to coal companies. The groups intend to file in federal court against the companies for violating the Clean Water Act. Stories on the notice are here and here.

The most recent previous post on this subject is here.

Washington and Oregon Governors Ask for Review of Coal Export Consequences

This week, the governors of Washington and Oregon asked the Obama Administration to review proposed coal export terminals. The Seattle Times article is here and the Huffington Post article is here. The letter linked in the Seattle Times article is here.

An excerpt from the Seattle Times

Western coal producers, saddled with low prices and weak demand in U.S. markets, are eager to send more coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asia. Much of that coal is on federal lands, but some is on tribal, private or state lands.

The proposals include two export terminals in Washington to be in Cherry Point, which is near Bellingham, and in Longview. There are also proposals for terminals in Oregon.

The prospect of using the Pacific Northwest as a launch point for coal exports has triggered intense controversy in both Oregon and Washington.

Seattle Human Rights Commission’s official comments are here. The Commission’s resolution on coal and the impact on Indian tribes is here. (Thanks to C.S.)

Finally, here is a Northwest Public Radio story about the potential effects of the proposed export plans on the Lummi Tribe.

Previous posts are here and here.

Drug Cartels on Washington Reservations

An excerpt from The Seattle Times:

In the backcountry of the Yakama Indian Reservation, a handful of law-enforcement officers spent part of last summer searching for two things: marijuana and the people growing it.

Tribal police and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) were acting on a tip about a vast marijuana plantation in the forested highlands of the sprawling reservation. Such tips often yielded abandoned fields of cannabis, but none of the culprits.

But the team hit pay dirt last August by uncovering a grow operation with 8,850 marijuana plants, as well as the suspected grower, an armed Mexican national in camouflage clothing who federal prosecutors say had been tending the plot for almost four months.

Tribal reservations, some with hundreds of square miles of rugged backcountry, have become the front line for law-enforcement eradication of marijuana grow operations in Washington, says Rich Wiley, who heads the State Patrol’s Narcotics Division. Growers are targeting the outskirts of Indian country for their marijuana farms, knowing tribal lands are sparsely populated and less policed, he said. Continue reading

Teck Camino Cert Petition and Briefs

The materials in the Teck Camino v. Pakootas case are at the Supreme Court Project website, here. Today, the United States responded to the Court’s call for the views of the Solicitor General by arguing in favor of a denial of the petition. In some respects, this is a victory for the tribal member plaintiffs, because it upholds the Ninth Circuit’s decision that CERCLA applies to the Canadian company’s discharges. But in another respect, it is a loss, because the EPA attempted to render the case moot by refusing to enforce its own finding that Teck Camino was liable. The SG argued that the case was moot because of this action.