Take Action: Goldendale

Stop Goldendale Pumped Storage – protect sacred land, medicines, and traditions from destruction. Protect Pushpum.

Known to the Yakama Nation as “mother of all roots,” Pushpum is a sacred site for Yakama Nation ceremonies, legends, and gathering of traditional roots and medicines.

This sacred site is located right where Rye Development is proposing to locate one of two massive reservoirs required for the proposed Goldendale Pumped Storage development, in Klickitat County, WA.  Goldendale Pumped Storage is the largest pumped-storage hydroelectric development proposal in the Pacific Northwest. It threatens irreplaceable tribal cultural and religious resources, fish, and wildlife. This proposed development is using  the need for “clean energy” as the reason to justify the destruction of these irreplaceable Tribal resources.

Subject line: Docket 14861-002 – Honor Tribal Sovereignty and Protect Cultural Resources

Dear Chairman Willie L. Phillips, Commissioner Allison Clements, and Commissioner Mark C. Christie,

I stand for a just clean energy transition. In support of that and in solidarity with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (Yakama Nation), the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, and the Nez Perce Tribe, I oppose the Goldendale Pumped Storage Development, a development that is not clean energy but environmental injustice. This Development is proposed on an incredibly sacred site known to the Yakama Nation as Pushpum and would destroy sacred land, medicines, and traditions.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) process and lack of responsiveness around protecting cultural resources is inconsistent with federal government policy. The U.S. federal government has an obligation to uphold Tribal sovereignty and self-determination, honoring its trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations. President Biden affirmed this responsibility through a series of Presidential Memorandums and an Executive Order. FERC itself has recently affirmed this duty, issuing orders that denied other pumped storage developments on Tribal lands, effectively outlining new FERC policy. In those February 2024 denials, FERC stated, “[t]he Commission recognizes the unique relationship between the United States and Indian Tribes and is committed to assuring that Tribal concerns and interests are considered whenever the Commission’s actions or decisions have the potential to adversely affect Indian Tribes or Indian trust resources.”

I urge the Commissioners to heed its own words and uphold Tribal sovereignty through the denial of the final permit for this Development, because it’s not clean energy if it harms Tribal cultural resources.



Background Information:

FERC staff have shown a concerning lack of responsiveness to public comments throughout the licensing process. They have also shown a blatant disregard towards Tribal cultural resources and Tribal sovereignty. Specifically, FERC has failed to address several critical issues in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Addressing these issues can only lead to one logical conclusion: denial of the final license for this Development.


  1. Failed to consult with the Yakama Nation;
  2. Failed to protect sensitive cultural information;
  3. Failed to assess alternatives, including alternative locations to site this Development; and
  4. Ignored the development’s large consumption of Columbia River water, and impacts to fish, wildlife, streams, and wetlands.

This development is environmental injustice, not clean energy.

We have the opportunity to build a new and truly clean energy transition. One that breaks from past harmful extractive practices, one that does not exploit Indigenous communities for the benefit of the majority, and one that does not come at the cost of sacred and irreplaceable resources. It’s not clean energy if it destroys tribal cultural resources and checking the box is not consultation. Goldendale Pumped Storage development makes no sense.

Watch this video from Yakama Nation Fisheries about the Goldendale Pumped Storage project:

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