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Tribes seeking $1 billion
Published May 11, 2004
The Klamath Tribes are seeking at least $1 billion
in compensation for the loss of salmon runs in the
Upper Klamath Basin.
Plaintiffs in the suit include the Klamath Tribes,
several individual tribal members, and Klamath
Claims Committee, a little-known entity that dates
to the termination of the tribes in the 1950s.
"The Tribes' traditional reliance upon salmon for
subsistence and trade is undisputed; and the
existence of dams blocking salmon passage
beginning in 1911 is undisputed."
"We can't comment on something we haven't seen,"
Dan Israel, one of the Tribes' attorneys, said the
lawsuit is to hold the power company responsible
for changes to the Klamath River that ended the
salmon's migration into the Upper Basin.
According to the 1864 treaty with the United
States, the Klamath Tribes have fishing rights for
salmon. Those rights were reinforced by a U.S.
Supreme Court ruling in the 1970s that the Tribes'
still hold hunting and fishing rights, despite the
abolishment of their reservation in the 1960s.
Salmon migration stops at the Iron Gate Dam, the
lowest on the Klamath River, in Siskiyou County.
The power dams are up for a new 50-year license,
with the current license set to expire in 2006.
But PacifiCorp did not develop plans to establish
passage for salmon around the three other major
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