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Honoring Ethical Journalism

News Advisory – Feb 19, 2018

Three Journalists to be honored, thanked in Spokane

Karen Dorn Steele, Rich Landers, Julie Titone reported over decades on water, forests, wildlife habitats, and cleaning up pollution in the Upper Columbia River Basin

Contacts:

When:  March 2 (Friday) 6:30 p.m. – 9:30

Where:  Spokane – historic Patsy Clark Mansion, 2208 W. 2nd Ave

What:  Honoring our environmental heroes – also music, desserts and other small foods, wines

Tickets: $35 per person. People are asked to RSVP. Tickets can be purchased at the door or on-line at CELP.org

Interviews with Karen Dorn Steele, Rich Landers, Julie Titone will be available prior to the March 2 honoring event.  Please send requests to john@waterplanet.ws

Why we honor journalism in the Upper Columbia River Region

Three retired journalists – Julie Titone, Rich Landers, and Karen Dorn Steele – who contributed significantly to our understanding of the world in which we live, will receive the Watershed Hero Award on March 2 at the Patsy Clark Mansion. In this time of attacks on journalism, we hope that you will attend and join us for Honoring Ethical Journalism.  Here is a thumbnail sketch of each of these heroes:

Karen Dorn Steele – Investigative Journalist

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is one of the world’s most polluted places and also a place of historic importance. Radioactive discharges into the air and groundwater have profound consequences, threatening the Columbia River region. The nationally acclaimed investigative reporting of Karen Dorn Steele opened our eyes to these threats.

Karen’s reporting connected us with the lives of our rural neighbors struggling with cancer deaths and other destructive impacts because of decisions to pollute the air, land, and water. More broadly, Karen’s reporting helped us to better recognize the importance of justice and stewardship in decisions about our region, including cleaning up massive mining and smelting pollution of the Upper Columbia River region.

Rich Landers – Outdoor Writer

Spokane is near the center of the Columbia River Basin, and Rich Landers brought the stories of the rivers, special places and outdoor pursuits into our homes and our lives.  Rich blazed a trail so that others could follow. He opened our eyes and our minds.

Conservation was a thread woven through Rich’s articles and photos. He was uniquely instrumental in the Upper Columbia River region in helping bring together hunters, anglers, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, and environmentalists to recognize their common interest in protecting clean, flowing rivers and habitat for fish and wildlife.

Julie Titone – Environmental Reporter

Through Julie Titone’s writing we learned about threats to our region’s waters and opportunities to engage in decisions to sustain and protect rivers and forests. She gave voice to the voiceless, including wildlife, rivers, and tribes struggling with a legacy of mining and smelting pollution.

In a time of historic transition and the consequent conflict over water and forests, Julie Titone’s reporting for the Columbia River Basin can best be described as “healing journalism”: respectful written dialogue allowing people to better understand issues and each other that empowered our regional community to recognize the finite limits of water and forests.

More about Honoring Journalism

Beginning in the 1980s, the Inland Northwest has undergone a series of historic transitions with the closing of frontiers – timber, mining, and now water – brought on by exploitation and limits of the natural world. Critical reporting on the environment is essential to sustaining and restoring the rivers and economies that depend on them in the Columbia Basin.

In the face of widespread corporate and foreign national meddling in our political discourse via social media and the proliferation of “fake news,” it is vital that the honorable work of journalists dedicated to truth and the common good be recognized and applauded.

Today as in every age, but particularly confronted as we are with the speed and quantity of what passes as news, we need reporters who not only are able to write a winsome phrase and paint a convincing verbal picture of our wildlife and landscapes, but who also love the earth and seek to support and honor its intricate web of life.

The work of these three journalists has contributed to a just and intelligent public expectation of what is acceptable in a human-nature ethic. Their journalism has held public and private officials to higher standards, and perhaps most importantly, these three reporters are a continuing example for others in the face of attacks on journalism and the environment.

Winter Waters Celebration is jointly hosted by Sierra Club’s Upper Columbia River Group and CELP to recognize and honor individuals, tribes, and organizations who have contributed significantly to protecting and restoring the waters of the Upper Columbia River.  Winter Waters 2018 is the 10th annual honoring event.

 


Honoring the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, protecting Coeur d’Alene Lake

News Advisory – March 6, 2017

Coeur d’Alene Tribe to be honored in Spokane for protecting Coeur d’Alene Lake

Mining, smelting wastes threaten Ancestral Homeland, Tribe Took Action

When: Friday evening, March 10, 2016, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Where: Spokane, Patsy Clark Mansion 2208 West 2nd Ave.

Who: Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Included will be Indigenous and Religious Leaders

Contacts & RSVP:

Tickets: $35 per person

Timeliness and relevance: Watershed Heroes

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe will receive the Watershed Hero Award because of the Tribe’s leadership in protecting Coeur d’Alene Lake, and restoring the basin’s waters contaminated with mining and smelting wastes. Coeur d’Alene Lake is much beloved and an economic engine for the Inland Northwest.

Through this honoring event, we hope to provide a broader, regional understanding and recognition not only for work the Tribe has undertaken in the past, but also of the Tribe’s continuing efforts to meet the formidable challenges needed to protect Lake Coeur d’Alene,

About the honoring event: “Winter Waters” is held annually in Spokane to celebrate work to restore the Upper Columbia River and honor people who have made a significant contribution to protecting water for the common good. The event is jointly hosted by Sierra Club’s Upper Columbia River Group and the Center for Environmental Law & Policy, with the awards presented by Sierra Club.
Event Sponsors: Upper Columbia United Tribes * Bishop William Skylstad * Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America  *  Eymann Allison Hunter Jones P.S.  *  Linda Finney & W. Thomas Soeldner  *  John & Joyce Roskelley  *  EnviroScience  *  Kathy Dixon  *  Columbia Institute for Water Policy  *  Rachael & John Osborn

Links –

* * An interview with Tribal Chairman Allan is available upon request


Washington Water Watch: February Edition

Check out CELP’s February edition of Washington Water Watch! In this issue: an update on water legislation making its way through the State Legislature, an article on the Grays-Elochoman & Cowlitz watersheds, and updates on our upcoming events.

Read the February issue of Water Watch here.

 


January 2017 Edition of Washington Water Watch

Check out the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, Washington Water Watch. In this month’s issue you’ll find an article on the current water bills in the Washington State legislature, an update on CELP’s recent motion for summary judgment in the Leavenworth National fish hatchery case, an article on the Lyre-Hoko watershed, and a notice about our upcoming Spokane event, Winter Waters.

Read the January 2017 issue of Washington Water Watch here.


Winter Waters 2017: Honoring the Coeur d’Alene Tribe

Protecting Lake Coeur d’Alene – Water is Life

Winter Waters Celebration, March 10 – Honoring the Coeur d’Alene Tribe

When:  March 10 (Friday) 6:30 p.m. – 9:30

Where:  Spokane – historic Patsy Clark Mansion, 2208 W. 2nd Ave

What:  Honoring our heroes – also music, desserts and other small foods, wines

Tickets: $35 per person (purchase on-line or at the door)

To help sponsor the event or for more information, contact: John Osborn MD john@waterplanet.ws 509.939-1290

Links:

Sponsors: Honoring the Coeur d’Alene Tribe

Upper Columbia United Tribes  *  Bishop William Sklystad  *  Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America  *  Eymann Allison Hunter Jones P.S.  *  Linda Finney & W. Thomas Soeldner  *  John & Joyce Roskelley  *  EnviroScience  *  Kathy Dixon  *  Columbia Institute for Water Policy  *  Rachael & John Osborn

________________________

Honoring the Tribe

In the homeland of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, nearly a century of hard-rock mining in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District led to release of massive mining and smelting wastes into streams and rivers.  The extent of the pollution is truly staggering.  There would be no cleanup — no hope for protecting Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Spokane River from mining pollution — without the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.  The Tribe’s work to protect and restore their homeland is historic with enduring benefits for the Tribe and indeed for all life.  We wish to thank the Tribe for their assistance in providing background information for the following summary.

Tribal World View

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe were the original land managers in the Basin.  For the Tribe, all things living are interconnected.  Relationship with other life is based on kinship rather than human supremacy.  Resources are always to be used in a respectful and sustainable manner.  Decisions include how Tribal descendants will be affected seven generations into the future.

Homeland and natural resource overview

  • Historically 4 million acres: located in what is now the Idaho Panhandle from Montana to Washington, Lake Pend Oreille to the Clearwater breaks.
  • Lands and waters were pristine until the advent of white settlement in the mid-1800s.
  • Since then ecological conditions changed drastically: logging practices have eliminated old growth forests, clear-cut hillsides, changed species diversity, created a highly concentrated network of roads, and displaced wildlife species; agriculture has greatly increased agricultural runoff of pesticides, herbicides and nutrients; mining has poured hundreds of millions of tons of tailings, liquid chemicals and airborne contaminants into the Basin.

All of these practices derived wealth for the few, jobs for some, and left a legacy of negative natural resource impacts for all.

As a result of such impacts, the Tribe decided to take action and championed some major efforts to address the many problems facing their natural resource base (the center of their culture).

Efforts Undertaken:

  • EPA-related work: In the mid to late 1980’s, EPA began Superfund work in the Silver Valley. The Tribe immediately became involved in the cleanup –   at first informally but later through cooperative agreements with EPA. Local, regional and State politics hoped the cleanup would be contained to a $200 million cleanup within a small portion of the Basin (the 21-square-mile “box”).  Through the Tribe’s oversight and incessant urging of the EPA process, the original cleanup plan has been greatly increased and has led to three Records of Decisions (ROD’s 1, 2, and 3). To date EPA has spent over $600 million and still has yet to determine agency clean up actions for the lower 20 miles of the Coeur d’Alene River and associated lakes and wetlands, or what to do with Coeur d’Alene Lake.  The Tribe believes that several billion dollars of EPA cleanup is yet to come.
  • NRDA lawsuit and the Lake Case: In 1991, the Tribe filed two major lawsuits: Tribe v. Idaho (the Lake Case) and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) lawsuit (Tribe v. Gulf Resources et al.)  These lawsuits set the stage for what became many years of protracted litigation.  The NRD lawsuit sought $3 billion dollars for the injury to natural resources brought upon by the release of hazardous substances.  The Lake ownership case sought to reaffirm the Tribes ownership of the Lake so the Tribe could then proceed to address the myriad of environmental problems left unchecked by the State of Idaho.  Ultimately the Tribe prevailed in both lawsuits. The Tribe has been and continues to be on the Trustee Council responsible for the development and implementation of Restoration Plan to spend the $140 million brought about through the lawsuits.
  • Lake Management Plan Development and Implementation: The Lake is the center of the Tribe’s creation story. Their name translates to, “Those that are found here.” Although the Tribe would have wanted EPA to undertake the protection of the Lake, politics has not yet allowed this. So rather than have a Superfund cleanup for the Lake, the Tribe was left with little option but to agree to coordinate with the State of Idaho to develop and implement a Lake Management Plan (LMP) that would, in essence, be the “non-CERCLA”  approach to manage lake-bed metals contamination. After seven years of lackluster implementation (due to lack of funding and no political will to enact regulations) Tribal water quality data are indicating declining water quality.  This indicates the LMP is proving to be ineffective.  The Tribe has asked EPA to once again revisit their “deferred” decision of what they will do to protect the environment from future heavy-metals contamination.
  • Water Rights Litigation: 10 years ago the Tribe was forced by the State of Idaho to be a part of the north Idaho water rights adjudication process. This has been a battle to develop Tribal water claims.  The Tribe now faces a trial to prove entitlement to federally reserved water rights.
  • Avista Mitigation: After the most recent FERC relicensing process that ended in 2011, the Tribe received $100 million to conduct natural resource restoration efforts to mitigate for losses to Tribal resources as a result of Avista Corporation project operations. Tribal investments include; aquatic weed (milfoil) management, wetlands enhancement, cultural resources protection, and water quality monitoring.
  • Capacity Building: All during the last 25 years the Tribe continued to build internal technical capacity to tackle the complex and daunting environmental challenges in the Basin.  The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has a Natural Resources Department and a Lake Management Department numbering about 75 people.  Programs and major focus include but are not limited to:
    • Fisheries (stream restoration, native species protection, scientific data collection)
    • Wildlife (wildlife monitoring, habitat enhancement, big game management)
    • Air Quality
    • Water Resources (water quality standards development and enforcement, invasive species management and predictive lake modelling)
    • Hazardous Waste Management (restoration of injured resources, LMP implementation)
    • Shoreline Protection (shoreline debris management)
    • Forestry and Fire Management (forest health, fire prevention and suppression)
    • Pesticides Enforcement (education and enforcement)
    • Lands and Realty
    • Environmental Planning (coordination of environmental work on and off the Coeur d’Alene Reservation)
    • Recreation Management (including operation and management for the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene and Camp Larsen).

In closing, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has taken on the leadership role as steward of their homeland’s natural elements.  In order to protect and restore the waters and lands, the Tribe has engage in a spectrum of efforts from litigation to cooperative agreements.   The Tribe’s unwavering dedication to it stewardship responsibilities stems from the creators’ gift of their Land and surrounding homeland.