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Re: E-M:/ Tribe says water legislation would violate its fishing rights

Thank you to the LRBOI for finally stepping in to help stop the Great Lakes diversion loopholes by the bottling companies and to hopefully help protect the "Public Trust" ground waters of the state and native Americans.  Tom Hamilton 
Patricia Birkholz, chairwoman of the Senate's Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee and a sponsor of the Senate bills, said the tribe was raising 11th-hour objections after keeping a low profile during months of discussions by legislative panels seeking a compromise on the water withdrawal issue.
Reducing stream flow enough to affect fish "isn't just an attack on the resources; it's an attack on our culture," said Jimmie Mitchell, natural resources director for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
In a message dated 3/25/2008 12:54:41 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, rita.jack@sierraclub.org writes:

Tribe says water legislation would violate its fishing rights


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- An American Indian tribe says bills pending in the Legislature to regulate high-volume water withdrawals would violate its rights by reducing fish populations in some rivers and streams.

Officials with other northern Michigan tribes also are raising concerns about the measures, pending in the House and Senate. The two versions are similar, but have differences that sponsors are trying to work out before floor votes are taken.

The bills would regulate withdrawals of more than 200,000 gallons per day from rivers and streams - or from underground aquifers - for commercial uses such as farming and manufacturing.

Lawmakers are considering them along with a related proposal to ratify an interstate compact designed to prevent Great Lakes water from being shipped or piped to other regions.

Supporters say the bills would help make sure Michigan's waters are used responsibly. But critics say their protections don't go far enough.

In a letter sent recently to legislative leaders, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians said both bills were flawed because they would let businesses remove enough water from streams to diminish populations of fish such as trout by reducing stream flow or raising temperatures.

"Any such reductions would amount to an unconstitutional taking of the tribe's property right in fish resources of rivers and streams," said the letter, signed by Tribal Chairman Robert Kewaygoshkum.








Rita Jack

Water Sentinels Project, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter

tel:  517-484-2372 x12


Know your watershed!

Make all Michigan's waters fishable and swimmable.



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