Skokomish chairman on Cushman Dam settlement
Skokomish Chairman Joseph Pavel spoke during lunch about the Cushman Dam settlement with the city of Tacoma. Read a column about the settlement on page 4 of our magazine.
The tribe’s appeal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, protesting the relicensing of the dams sat there for 11 years.
It took an incredible amount of time to get other agencies involved.
At the time the only one who was there was the tribe. The Skokomish Tribe. There was no National Marine Fisheries Service. There was no Park Service. There was no Department of Fish and Wildlife. There was no Department of Ecology.
We had to take a cattle prod to some of these agencies. All of our available resources were used to getting these people up to task.
That river has been severely abused:
- The dams block fish passage.
- Almost all water is diverted out of the watershed.
- The dams devastate the river.
- Increased flooding has turned pasture land and home sites into swamps for much of the year
This is theft on a grand scale. They see this river, they see this water, they think, “We can make power of this.”
There’s already power there! It was fueling the Skokomish people.
It’s power that was already being used. They stole it, put it in a wire and sent it to the city of Tacoma and got rich off it.