Bristol Bay Tribes, community members, and Native corporations and organizations in Alaska are celebrating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s action to stop the proposed Pebble copper and gold mine project from being built.
On Monday, the EPA issued a Final Determination protecting the salmon-rich Bristol Bay watershed under the Clean Water Act.
The EPA determined certain discharges associated with developing the Pebble Mine will have adverse effects on salmon fisheries in Bristol Bay.
The tribes, Bristol Bay residents, commercial and sport fishers, environmental groups, and others have long fought for the protection of fish, water, and people in the region.
In 2010, Bristol Bay Tribes first formally petitioned the EPA to protect the pristine watershed under the Clean Water Act.
The United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Bristol Bay Native Association, the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and the Bristol Economic Development Corporation released statements Tuesday calling the moment historic and celebrating the protection of their lands, water, and cultures.
Developers Pebble Limited Partnership said in a statement the preemptive action against Pebble is not supported legally, technically, or environmentally, and they will likely take legal action.
Monday’s decision follows years of litigation, and a 2020 denial of a key permit to the Pebble Mine by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
A joint resolution to recognize the history and trauma of Indian boarding schools and asking for a federal day of remembrance was recently heard in the Montana Legislature.
Montana Public Radio’s Ellis Juhlin reports.
State Sen. Susan Webber (Blackfeet/D-MT) from Browning is carrying the resolution that asks the 68th Legislature to recognize the trauma inflicted by removing American Indian children from their families and sending them to boarding schools.
Sen. Webber shared her firsthand experience as a survivor of these schools, having attended the Cut Bank Boarding School until junior high.
“I just want to say that I wanted to bring this bill, because I, my generation, is the last generation that had to go to boarding school. We had to go to boarding school. Now I’m not 150 years old. This was still going on in the 60s. ”
The resolution also asks the U.S. government to create a national day of remembrance for the children that died in boarding schools.
The U.S. Department of the Interior published a report last year as part of an ongoing investigation into the country’s past assimilation policies. That report found 408 boarding schools across 37 states including 18 sites in Montana.
More than a dozen people gave public testimony in support of the resolution in its first committee hearing. There were no opponents. The Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee did not immediately take action on the bill.
The Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation Board of Trustees has legalized hemp and marijuana on the reservation.
On Monday, the board of trustees voted to amend the criminal code to legalize the possession of marijuana on the reservation in Oregon.
The change goes into effect immediately for people 21 years and older to consume and possess marijuana.
Tribal laws will be similar to state laws, but any business on the reservation related to marijuana or hemp will be addressed in future codes and regulations.
According to the board of trustees, the alignment of laws will help the tribe have the option of compacting with the state for any future business in the industry if the tribe chooses to do so.
In New York, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council has adopted a cannabis consumption lounges amendment.
The tribal clerk notified tribal membership on Monday that no written comments were received on the amendment, which was signed by the tribal council last week.
The membership was given 30 days to comment on the cannabis ordinance.
A consultation session was also held earlier in January for people to discuss the amendment.
The Tribe’s Cannabis Control Board is now authorized to issue consumption lounge licenses.
Lounges may only sell cannabis, cannabis products, and other approved items to people 21 and older.
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