Protect sacred Native sites. Don't raise the Shasta Dam.
It's yet another shady deal by a corrupt Trump administration official to benefit corporate interests.
Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, who is already under federal investigation for numerous ethical violations, is pushing forward a dangerous plan to raise the height of the Shasta Dam in Northern California to help a former lobbying client.1
Raising the height of the Shasta Dam would cause untold devastation to sacred Native ceremonial sites, erasing the cultural history of the Winnemem Wintu people, as well as threaten endangered species and wildlife in the region. We must demand that the Department of the Interior immediately drop its plan to raise the dam.
Tell the Department of the Interior: Protect sacred lands. Don't raise the Shasta Dam.
When construction of Shasta Dam was completed in 1945, it flooded the ancestral homelands of the Winnemem Wintu and devastated the healthy McCloud River salmon runs on which the tribe depended. Raising the dam further would double down on an 80-year-old mistake that never should have been made in the first place.
What's more, staff biologists from Sec. Bernhardt's own Fish and Wildlife Service raised major environmental concerns about the Shasta Dam project, science that he continues to ignore to favor his former lobbying client, the Westlands Water District, the state's largest water entity that is mainly run by some of California's wealthiest farmers. In a 215-page report, scientists found that raising the dam would threaten the bald eagle, the northern spotted owl, the Shasta snow-wreath, a delicate white flower, and cut off routes for spawning salmon, which could devastate the salmon population and the Pacific Coast fishing industry.2
Bernhardt and Westlands Water District are pulling out all the stops to ensure this massive giveaway to corporate agriculture will go through. According to our allies at Earthjustice who are fighting the Trump administration in court over the project, "Westlands stands to gain more water from the project to deliver to its large corporate agriculture constituents in the southern part of California’s Central Valley, hundreds of miles from the dam. Westlands is using all its power to make this happen."3
Pressure to stop the Shasta Dam project is working. After lawsuits brought by the state of California and others to stop the project won in court, Westlands halted the initial steps to begin its environmental assessments, but it recently claimed it hasn't abandoned the project. The Interior Department still expects that construction will begin this December. That's why we must speak out now to demand that the Interior Department stop all plans to raise the Shasta Dam.
Thank you for speaking out.
- Coral Davenport, "The Interior Secretary Wants to Enlarge a Dam. An Old Lobbying Client Would Benefit." The New York Times, Sept. 28, 2019.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service San Francisco Bay - Delta Fish and Wildlife Office, "Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Report for the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation," November 2015.
- Stacey Geis, "Raising Shasta Dam Would Harm Many to Benefit a Few," Earthjustice, May 15, 2019.