A Native American tribe, located in northwestern California, has sued the Biden administration over contractors who allegedly have not been made by the U.S. Department of Interior to pay the necessary money for the river restoration project. The Hoopa Valley Tribe notes that the laws in place require contractors to pay for the restoration efforts in exchange for using the water.
According to the lawsuit, the contractors are estimated to owe around $340 million which would have been given for the restoration efforts along the Trinity River. The river runs through 12 miles of the tribe’s reservation.
The trinity river has been used for water in local dams, and reservoirs, and its waters are even taken to the south where they help sustain farmlands. The Hoopa Valley tribe has noted that the federal government has not been diligent in consulting them regarding the river, even though updated laws gave the tribe power over the river flows.
During the Obama administration, a law mandated that temporary water contracts could be changed to permanent.
According to the tribe’s lawsuit, the contract awarded to Westland’s Water District did not have the necessary stipulation regarding the habitat restoration payments. Tribal leaders are now insisting that the river is in desperate need of restoration.
Mike Orcutt, fisheries director for the Hoopa Valley Tribe has noted that the river is a central component of life in the reservoir and that they are fighting to correct years of wrongdoings.