Take Action: Goldendale

Urge the U.S. Army Corps To Honor Tribal Sovereignty!

With the Goldendale Pumped Storage Project, Rye Development and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners are proposing to inundate an area known as “Pushpum” by the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation which translates to the ‘mother of all roots’ a sacred area that includes archeological, ceremonial, petroglyph, monumental and ancestral sites. In spite of the clear opposition by the Yakama Nation, the project developer continues to proceed and is working hard to convince regulators and decision-makers that this project should be built. The Yakama Nation has vehemently opposed this development because of the proposal’s devastating impacts to irreplaceable tribal cultural religious resources and its proven potential to impede ongoing treaty-reserved cultural practices. Check out Yakama Nation’s video sharing their perspective to learn more.

RE: The Goldendale Pumped Storage Development 404 Permitting Process.     

Dear U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently released its final environmental review for the Goldendale Energy Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Development. FERC’s concluding recommendation? License the development, despite FERC’s failure to consult with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (Yakama Nation). 

The Development, proposed in the Columbia Hills at a site known as Juniper Point, or Pushpum to the Yakama People, is a place of extraordinary significance to multiple Tribal Nations and includes many ancestral village sites, traditional food gathering areas, historic and archaeological sites, and legendary traditional cultural properties.

The Washington State Dept. of Ecology’s environmental review concluded that construction and operation of the development would result in unavoidable adverse impacts to tribal and cultural resources.

In stark contrast, FERC’s environmental review ignores the development’s destruction of irreplaceable tribal cultural resources, large consumption of Columbia River water, and impacts to fish, wildlife, streams, and wetlands. This follows a disturbing pattern that the National Congress of American Indians considers a national emergency in Indian country because FERC is failing its consultation obligations with Tribe’s nationwide.

I urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct its own robust and collaborative consultation with the Yakama Nation and Confederated Tribes and Bands of Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Sincerely, 

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

Rye Development wants to build the largest pumped-storage hydroelectric development in the Pacific Northwest.The Yakama Nation has vehemently opposed this development because of the proposal’s devastating impacts to irreplaceable tribal cultural religious resources. Check out Columbia Riverkeeper’s webinar with two Kah-miltpa band members: Yakama Nation Tribal Councilman Jeremy Takala and Fisheries Biologist and Hydro-Coordinator at Yakama Nation Fisheries Elaine Harvey to learn more.
Background Information:

According to a cultural resources survey conducted by the Yakama Nation and included in Rye Development's License Application, the development would directly interfere with several culturally significant sites to the Yakama Nation and other cultural property. Bottom line, the survey concluded that this development cannot be built in this location without devastating impacts to cultural resources. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) has also stated that :

The proposed Project is likely to have substantial, harmful impacts on tribal cultural resources, including sites and artifacts—potentially both those located in-water, or below the ordinary-highwater-line, and those above and beyond the shoreline. Extensive potential tribal cultural resources impacts have been documented in materials developed by the Yakama Nation (including archeological, ceremonial, burial petroglyph, monumental and ancestral use sites). The CTUIR has also determined that the Project could have significant implications for historic properties of religious and cultural significance to the CTUIR.

What's more, this Development, the Developer, and FERC itself has exhibited a total and utter disregard for and ignorance of federal law when it comes to government-to-government consultation with Tribes. A January 5, 2022 letter from the Washington State Department of Archaeological & Historic Preservation blasted both Rye and FERC for ignoring federal law, stating that a recent submission, “continues an unacceptable and knowing pattern of ignoring federal law and regulations stipulated in 36CFR800.”

Read Columbia Riverkeeper’s Q&A to learn more

The Yakama Nation has vehemently opposed this development because of the proposal’s devastating impacts to irreplaceable tribal cultural resources.

About the Issue

Stand in Solidarity with Tribal Nations: A pumped-storage hydroelectric development threatens irreplaceable tribal cultural resources, fish, and wildlife.

Check out Columbia Riverkeeper’s webinar

Check out Columbia Riverkeeper’s webinar with two Kah-miltpa band members: Yakama Nation Tribal Councilman Jeremy Takala and Fisheries Biologist and Hydro-Coordinator at Yakama Nation Fisheries Elaine Harvey to learn more.