Yakama Yack: Do Talk Back
The Yakama Nation has filed notice of its intent to sue the U.S. Department of Energy over its alleged failure to protect the Columbia River from contamination by the Hanford nuclear reservation. Thanks to four decades of plutonium production, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the country; the tribe says radioactive pollution from the facility has contributed to the decline of the Columbia and its salmon runs, upon which the Yakama have depended for centuries. “What has happened, has happened. But now it is time for the federal government to clean up the mess and restore the natural resources that have been lost,” said Tribal Council Chair Ross Sockzehigh. “It is not just our burden. It is the entire country’s obligation.” The Yakama intend to sue under the federal Superfund law and may seek damages of hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.