Friday, October 7, 2016
Nez Perce Tribe: We are committed to preventing the Clearwater and Lochsa River from becoming an industrial corridor
The Nez Perce Tribe opposes the Clearwater and Lochsa River corridor becoming an industrial corridor, and has repeatedly made this known, according to a news release the Tribe issued last week.
The Tribe peacefully protested mega-load traffic in 2013 and simultaneously pursued a successful action in federal court enjoining mega-load traffic from the wild and scenic corridor of U.S. Highway 12 within the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.
The injunction issued by Judge Winmill in 2013 remains in place until the U.S. Forest Service completes an impact study and consults on a government-to-government basis with the Nez Perce Tribe.
ITD’s recently proposed rule regarding 129,000-pound oversize shipments is, according to the press release, no different from the agency’s position prior to the 2013 federal court injunction.
“It does not alter the reality that the legal issues at stake are federal in nature, are the subject of a federal court lawsuit that resulted in a federal court injunction, and are subject to on-going federal court mediation. At a minimum, ITD’s proposed rule is at this time ineffectual,” states the press release.
ITD made no effort to contact the Nez Perce Tribe or the U.S. Forest Service before unilaterally proposing this rule, states the press release.
The Forest Service, the Tribe, and Idaho Rivers United are engaged in mediation under the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ mediation program.
The Forest Service, the Tribe, and ITD–which was invited into the mediation in 2015–are all bound by confidentiality from disclosing those discussions; however, the Tribe strongly disagrees with ITD’s characterization of the mediation in its FAQ accompanying this rulemaking.
“The Tribe is committed to continuing to protect the Clearwater-Lochsa river corridor, and to working with the U.S. Forest Service and others regardless, whether ITD chooses to do so or not,” states the press release.
The Tribe will not comment at ITD’s hearing on the proposed rule, but it will submit comments on the proposed rulemaking in writing by Oct. 14.