Washington state’s most populous county is getting ready to pay more than $5 million to settle a lawsuit threatened by the Suquamish Tribe over more than six million of gallons of sewage spilled into Puget sound.
The Seattle Times reports the tribe filed an intent to sue in 2020, documenting almost a dozen times sewage overflowed from the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle over 2018 and 2019.
The proposed settlement includes a timeline for almost $600 million in improvements to the plant, including new pipes, pumps, batteries, and other power supplies to keep pumps running in the event of a power outage.
The spills generally happened during foul weather or blackouts.
About half of the $5 million will go into a mitigation fund held by the tribe, the other half will go toward a new environmental project of the county’s choosing, and the county will pay $240,000 toward the tribes legal fees.
The proposed settlement, which was discussed and agreed to by the tribe and county officials earlier this year, passed the county’s environment committee on Thursday, and goes to the full council for a vote as early as later this month.
Actor and activist Sacheen Littlefeather formally accepted an apology by officials at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The event at the Academy Museum comes nearly 50 years after she was booed and professionally boycotted for her speech during the 1973 Oscar Awards broadcast on behalf of Marlon Brando declining his award for best actor.
Casting Director and former President of the Academy David Rubin read from a letter of apology first presented to Littlefeather in June.
“For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this we offer our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration.”
Rubin said the Academy is at an inflection point for inclusion and representation.
Littlefeather’s 1973 speech called attention to the ongoing conflict at Wounded Knee, SD and called out the poor representation of Native people in popular media.
At the recent event, Littlefeather said she understood the gravity of her role that night.
“I was representing all Indigenous voices out there. All Indigenous people. Because we had never been heard in that way before. And if I had to pay the price of admission then that was okay, because those voices had to be open.”
Billed as a “healing event”, her appearance included a discussion with producer Bird Runningwater, the co-chair of the Academy’s Indigenous Alliance and former head of the Sundance Institute’s Native Lab.
The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation is fighting for mineral rights against the state of North Dakota.
The state reaffirmed an ownership claim over the bed of the Missouri River as it flows through Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, despite legal and historical precedent, and a memo from the U. S. Department of the Interior that confirms tribal ownership.
InForum News reports that more than $ 115 million is at stake in oil and gas royalties.
The dispute is pending before a U.S. District court judge in a lawsuit filed by the tribe after the Trump administration reversed decades of federal policy recognizing the tribes ownership in a series of legal decisions going back to 1936, and two treaties from 1825 and 1851.
The Biden administration reversed that Trump order back in February this year, and the tribe has been trying to get a full accounting of royalties owed ever since.
But the state’s solicitor general wrote a letter to oil and gas producers claiming ownership based on the constitution’s equal footing doctrine, which declares a state holds ownership of navigable waters within its boundaries.
Mark Fox, Chariman of the MHA Nation, says the state is showing a lack of respect for legal precedent and “the people who have paid with their lives to preserve these fragments” of the tribe’s ancestral lands.
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