Backbone was just alerted to the disturbing fact that the Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office is arguing in front of the US Supreme Court tomorrow (Wednesday, April 18).

READ the article that alerted us to this incredible misstep by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his Solicitor General Noah Purcell HERE.  

  1. In short, the AG’s office inherited a 20 year old lawsuit by NW Tribes calling on the state to replace culverts that impede the return of salmon.
  2. Lower courts have ruled in favor of the tribes and called on the state to remove culverts that impede salmon migration; they gave the state 17 years to replace the culverts.
  3. Instead of accepting that ruling, Washington State is now attempting to avoid some of what they deem unnecessary expenses by taking a litigious stance, insisting that tribes are overstepping their treaty rights.

Anyone who has been involved in fights to protect our region from becoming a fossil fuel corridor to Asia knows that Coast Salish tribes have been leading the way. They’ve effectively used their moral and legal power to deliver victories – while state regulators are often impotent, absent, or only willing to take a stand after the tribes and people have fought the battles.

This is no time to be undermining a last line of defense for protecting future generations.  This is the time to stand with Tribes and to celebrate their leadership and unique set of powerful tools – not foolishly collude to undermine them.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Solicitor General Noah Purcell need to stand down. It is easy to imagine the current Supreme Court using this case to undermine tribal sovereignty and power.  The misguided position Washington State is taking could weaken the power of tribes to use treaty rights to protect salmon and other treaty protected resources we all care about. It is a waste of state and tribal resources to continue to litigate a case by which the state should simply abide. This is an outrage and a grand strategic blunder of the highest order.

  1. Sign our Emergency Petition HERE
    1. Call the Washington State Attorney General’s office at 360-753-6200.
      Leave a message for AG Bob Ferguson and Solicitor General Noah Purcell instructing them to:
      a. Stand down!
      b. Abide by lower court rulings to replace the culverts.
      c. DO NOT collude with the US Supreme Court to undermine the treaty rights of tribes
  2. Share this email and petition with your networks

In solidarity,

Bill Moyer
Backbone Campaign