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Native American Tribe's Suit Targets Westlands Without Suing the District. Here's Why.

Article by: Alex Tavlian

"In August, the Hoopa Valley Tribe filed a lawsuit in a Eureka-based Federal court against the U.S. Department of Interior to block execution of a permanent repayment contracts for Central Valley Project users."

December 17, 2020

The San Joaquin Valley Sun


Northern California Tribe Asks Judge to Block Permanent Water Contract with Westlands

Article by: Jim Jakobs

 “Hoopa seeks an order and judgment setting aside, declaring invalid, and rescinding Reclamation’s conversion of certain time-limited Central Valley Project (“CVP”) renewal contracts into permanent repayment contracts with water contractors (including but not limited to Westlands Water District…”

December 16, 2020


5th Circuit Says Hoopa Valley Injury Suit Was Not Federal Matter

Article by: Diamond Naga Siu

"A Fifth Circuit panel said Monday a Texas federal court was the wrong place for a firefighter's injury suit against the Hoopa Valley Tribe, dismissing the case even as it disagreed with a district court's sovereign immunity ruling."

December 15, 2020



Feds Defend Permanent Water Contracts to Benefit Agriculture

Article by: Nicholas Iovino

"The Tribe is constantly forced to fight over water deliveries that they are entitled to under federal law," [Somerville] said. "That's why it's so important to have specific provisions in the contracts that will bind the contractors to these terms that are required under federal law." 


December 10, 2020

Courthouse News


Victory for Mason Morisset and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe

Mason Morisset recently landed a small though encouraging victory in the long-standing fishing rights case US v. Michigan. Last month, a Michigan NGO called The Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources (“CPMR”) filed a motion for amicus curiae status. This move, if granted, would have landed them the ability to substantively affect proceedings. Mason and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians filed in opposition. An October 8th order from District Judge Paul Maloney agreed with them, ensuring that amici such as CPMR will obtain no such status. They are to only be regarded as a “silent observer” and reserve no right to “initiat[e] legal proceedings, fil[e] pleadings, or otherwise participat[e]” at this time. A notable victory, this order guarantees, at least for the time being, that no outside forces will have the ability to “jump start” or “take control” of this case for their own gain.

October 8, 2019


Tribal Water

in the Pacific Northwest

Thomas P. Schlosser, Program Co-Chair

"Throughout our Tribal Water Law conference, we will explore ways in which Tribes, local governments, and water agencies can work cooperatively to ensure an adequate and sustained supply of water for mutually beneficial uses into the future."

Sept. 19-20, 2019

Seattle, WA 



A Fight Between

Humboldt Stakeholders Over the Klamath Dams is Impacting Environmental Protections Across the Country

Article by: Ryan Burns

“It’s not as though they did this [withdraw-and-resubmit tactic] without regard to possibilities of its effect elsewhere,” he said. “They chose to block the Klamath proceedings on an illegal basis, and the fact that they jeopardized some deal made elsewhere … is not my concern.”



June 12, 2019

West Coast Outpost


Tribal Consultations Seminar

Speakers M. Morisset and T. Somerville

"Washington has adopted its own Tribal consultation process, which provides a framework for government-to-government relations and interactions between the Tribes and the state. Done properly, consultation can help all parties build trust and meet their objectives."

June 6-7, 2019

Seattle, WA

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D.C. Circuit Holds that States Cannot Use Section 401 Authority to Delay Hydropower Relicensing

Argued by Thane D. Somerville for Hoopa

Argued on behalf of Hoopa Valley Tribe by our own, Thane Somerville, the court's decision in Hoopa Valley Tribe v. FERC, "Shows that states must not ignore the rights and interests of tribes with co-management authority regarding fisheries.” Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman Ryan Jackson said.

January 28, 2019

National Law Review


Victory in Hoopa Valley Tribe v. FERC

Thane Somerville and Thomas Schlosser

"The D.C. Circuit sided Friday with a Native American tribe in finding that corporations cannot “scheme” with state governments to indefinitely delay water-quality reviews that could lead to stricter environmental protection conditions for dams and hydropower projects."

January 25, 2019 

Courthouse News

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