Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Native Americans and Environmentalists Resist Energy Development on Sacred Land
by Christina Aanestad, Bay Area Independent Media Center
Jan 30th, 2007
Native American rights activists and environmentalists gathered at Calpine headquarters in San Jose today to dissuade the energy company from its decades long plan to develop a power plant on a sacred area near mount Shasta. Calpine operates over 90 geothermal, renewable power plants in the U.S. with nearly 30 in California. Tribes are concerned the power plants would pollute local indigenous communites and the sacred area called Medicine Lake in Northern California.

The Medicine Lake Highlands are sacred to 5 Native American tribes in Northern California. But that’s not stopping Calpine energy’s plan to develop two 49 megawatt geothermal power plants there, a plan tribes and environmental groups oppose. Radley Davis, with the Pit River Nation says those plans would damage the spiritual integrity and health of his people.

"It’s a spiritual place there’s no need for any development there. When the world was being created the creator stopped there to bathe himself its’ a place to go to get well in the water to heal you with proposed energy development there with geothermal to drill and look for steam to create energy there are other considerations of exposure to radon, mercury, arsenic and what this would do to the air the water, the ground."

The Pit River Nation and environmental groups took their battle to the 9th circuit court of appeal and won a decision from a three judge panel last year, which reversed leases, Calpine had to the land. Medicine Lake is in an area known as the Glass Mountain Geothermal Reserve, one of the largest untapped geothermal reserves in the state. According to Calpine spokesperson Kathryn Potter, the energy company is still considering all its legal options to pursue development. With the help of federal agencies they’ve filed an extension and are considering an appeal. John Dearing is a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, one of the federal agencies involved in the suit.

"It has some geothermal resources that we’d like to tap into or private companies w ould like to tap into to produce energy. Geothermal is an alternative energy to oil and as you know oil is expensive oil is running out so the us govt. and the energy policy determined we should look for other resources."

Activists served Calpine with a an eviction notice to end it's decades long plan to develop power plants on the area. According to native rights activists, California tax payers would provide 50 million dollars in subsidies to develop the power plants, only to see the energy sold to an out of state power company, and then resold back to California. Jimbo Simmons of the Indian treaty Council says Calpine’s fight to access the resources on Medicine Lake is one example of the war energy companies are waging against Native Americans across the us.

“Over 170 native American sites are in jeopardy today places like Bear Butte in South Dakota, the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona, Medicine Lake, Black Mesa, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, Devils Tower. Were talking about 50 million acres of land, still in federal trust status with 70%-90% of natural resources untapped on Indian lands. We’re talking about an energy war. What’s gonna happen is they’re going to come to the Indian lands here in America to get those resources for energy.”

Calpine, the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service have until February 21st to file an appeal to the full 9th Circuit Courts.
Home Contact


              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2006, All Rights Reserved