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News ::
"Got water? Give some to the fish" (english)
12 Jul 2003
Modified: 04:12:22 PM
Tribe members stood outside a hotel holding signs with sayings such as, "Fish need water stupid" and "Got water? Give some to the fish." U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton, former Libertarian Party member, has been widely criticized for her assault on environmental protections.
Indians protest lack of voice at conference
Alex Breitler, The Record Searchlight, July 11, 2003

SACRAMENTO Angry over a lack of representation, about 150 American Indians from the Klamath River area protested Thursday outside a regional water conference here. Members of the Yurok tribe piled into buses and cars as early as 12:30 a.m. Thursday for the roughly 300-mile drive to Sacramento, said the tribe's Executive Director Troy Fletcher.

While American Indians were invited to attend the federal government's conference, none participated, Fletcher said. "It was just disappointing," said Fletcher. "It was terrible for us."

About 33,000 salmon died last year on the Klamath River, due in part to low flows. American Indians who depend on the fish have criticized government policy that diverts water to farms in the upper Klamath Basin.

Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Jeff McCracken said one American Indian was invited to participate in a conference panel. But, he said, that representative from a Nevada tribe was unable to attend. "Circumstances just caught up with us," said McCracken. "We just never had an opportunity to replace him. We just went ahead and held the event today as best we could."

It would only make sense, Fletcher said, to invite members from tribes involved in the hotly debated Klamath River issue. But the "Water 2025" conference the third of eight regional meetings to discuss ways to prevent water conflicts in the future wasn't devoted solely to the woes of the Klamath, McCracken said.

U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced the Water 2025 strategy last month to boost water supplies, promote conservation, increase efficiency and bank water for dry years. But the look to the future has brought critics from the present. "It's surprising that Bureau of Reclamation came here with a vision for 2025 with no vision for 2003," said Craig Tucker of Friends of the River, which joined the tribe and the Sierra Club in protesting the conference.

The Yuroks, joined by members of the Hoopa tribe and some environmental groups, held what Fletcher called a "respectful, peaceful" demonstration, not only against their lack of participation but against the government's water policy in general. Tribe members stood outside a hotel holding signs with sayings such as, "Fish need water stupid" and "Got water? Give some to the fish."

Fletcher said he thinks he knows why American Indians weren't more involved in the meeting. "If they asked the Yurok tribe to speak, we would tell it like it is," Fletcher said. "There's too much demand on a limited supply" of water.

McCracken said the conference's 500 participants saw the beginning of a dialogue that should continue into the future. Besides holding the regional meetings, the government has a "Water 2025" plan that would seek voluntary water transfers, reduce the cost of advanced water treatment and install new water management technologies.

"People recognized what the administration's focus here is, and it's a good one," McCracken said. Fletcher said the Yuroks were at least pleased that they got their point across. "We're extremely concerned that unless the Bureau of Reclamation identifies real solutions today, at present, there won't be fish around at least on the Klamath in any meaningful numbers in 2025," he said.
See also:
http://www.redding.com/top_stories/local/20030711toplo056.shtml
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Bush and the Libertarians back Gale Norton (english)
12 Jul 2003
"The nomination of former Libertarian Gale Norton is one small step for the Republican Party, but one giant leap for Libertarian-style environmental policies... Norton is a refreshing change of pace from the typical knee-jerk, anti-capitalism, tree-worshipping environmentalist -- and that makes her the best possible choice for Secretary of the Interior."
-- Libertarian Party National Director, Steve Dasbach.
SEE: http://www.lp.org/press/archive.php?function=view&record=177

"This last bit is good news only insofar as it brings us closer to our dream of seeing Interior Secretary Gale Norton behind bars: Gale Norton has once again been cited for contempt of court, this time for her failure to act to protect manatees. You may remember that she was held in contempt just three weeks ago for her incompetence in dealing with Native American trust funds. Two strikes down, Gale, only one to go... "
-- Matt Wheeland is an increasingly irate AlterNet Fellow.
SEE: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14225.

The Sierra Club today launched campaigns to oppose President-elect George W. Bush's nominations of Gale Norton as the Secretary of the Interior and John Ashcroft as Attorney General. Both nominees have dismal environmental records.
-- The Sierra Club
SEE: http://kernkaweah.sierraclub.org/press/sc_release_oppose_norton_1.html

Late on April 11, 2003, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced that she was renouncing her Department's well-established authority to conduct wilderness reviews of public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management to determine if they have wilderness character. Secretary Norton also renounced the BLM's authority to use its own inventories as the basis for wilderness study area designations in subsequent, and highly influential, resource management plans, many of which are in development now.
-- Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
SEE: http://www.suwa.org/entry.php?entry_id=359