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Letter sign-on: deadline October 6, 2023

The Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee requests your help to protect Minidoka by signing a letter to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. The letter asks her to reject LS Power’s proposed Lava Ridge wind project and permanently protect Minidoka by designating an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).

This letter is modeled on the survivors’ and descendants’ October 2021 Scoping Letter sent to BLM.

The Pilgrimage Committee plans to share the letter with the Biden Administration, Members of Congress and media outlets to generate press coverage about the importance of Minidoka.

Survivors:

  • Name, Prison Number, Barracks, Age, City, State, Military service (you or family member), Gold Star Family,
    Tribal affiliation (Japanese Alaskans)

Descendants (connections to Minidoka survivors or non-survivors and your information):

  • Name, City, State

  • Names/prison numbers of relatives who were incarcerated

Allies (connections to Minidoka, any other incarceration site or healing project):

  • Name, City, State

We are interested in any connections to New Mexico, such as Santa Fe or Lordsburg, and Fort Missoula. We are seeking as many people as possible!

 

By signing this letter, you consent to sharing information you provide with federal officials and the media.

DEADLINE FOR SIGN-ON Friday, October 6.

How to sign on:

March/April 2023

Submit your letter with comments to the Shoshone BLM by April 20

You can submit your comments one of three ways:

  • Online here and then clicking on the green Participate Now option 

  • E-mail BLM_ID_LavaRidge@blm.gov 

  • By hand or by mail. Label envelope “Lava Ridge Wind Project EIS” to Kasey Prestwich, Project Manager, BLM Shoshone Field Office, 400 West F Street, Shoshone, ID 83352

Please also email a copy to: info@minidoka.org and minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com

When you email a copy to Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee, please indicate your US Representative in the email and your city and state of residence. MPPC will send your letter to your Congressional delegation together with other letters. THIS IS CRITICAL. Find your Members of Congress here: https://www.congress.gov/members/find-your-member 

 

You can Read the Lava Ridge Draft Environmental Impact Statement online

PLEASE DON'T:

  • Submit form letters or copied comments because they will not be counted (for example, during the scoping process, 900 letters were form letters and they were counted as one comment)

  • Submit the same letter you wrote for scoping comments

PLEASE DO:

  • Share clearly and emotionally (if possible) how your individual and family story as a survivor, descendant or ally connects to the Minidoka National Historic Site (or the site you are connected to) and how the windmill project will directly impact you, your family and your community. 

  • Cite specific sections of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and your concerns. (See suggestions below). 

Here are some suggested concerns about the DEIS (please use your own words--please do not copy and paste!):

  • Use the DEIS terminology "impairment of resources" which means the irrevocable harmful change that would take place on the lands immediately surrounding the Minidoka NHS.

  • The DEIS fails to adequately protect the significance of the land surrounding Minidoka NHS as a place of reflection and healing for the survivors who were unconstitutionally incarcerated, their descendants, and all who visit this International Site of Conscience.

  • The DEIS inappropriately identifies Minidoka NHS as for “Tourists and Recreationalists” which reflects ignorance of the history of the location and its impacts.

  • The DEIS fails to recognize the importance of the cultural landscape and preserve the historic nature of the land, including the integrity of the site, feeling and association of historic events, and its immersive educational experience.

  • Use the DEIS terminology"viewshed" meaning "the natural environment that is visible from one or more viewing points."  A “moderate” degree of visual change to Minidoka NHS's viewshed, as stated fails to protect the integrity of the site.

  • The BLM failed to notify the impacted population in Idaho and throughout the US before the Notice of Intent was posted on August 20, 2021. The BLM has shown a lack of deep knowledge of the history of the cultural properties of the site, that after WWII, the incarcerees were dispersed throughout the country.

It is important to also comment on what is not included in the DEIS:

  • Failed to include the importance of the education about the negative psychological effects of incarceration at Minidoka. You can cite Donna Nagata’s study here

  • Failed to include the preservation of “immersive feeling of isolation” and somberness that, like protected at other National Parks such as the site of the Battle of Saratoga, Saratoga National Park, instill reflection and education on the historical event of the unjust incarceration at Minidoka. 

  • Does not reflect nor address cultural competency as mandated in President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. 

  • Does not include potential cumulative effects as other projects are being planned in the area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 

Here is an example letter from a previous wind farm project. 

Friends of Minidoka Traditional Cultural Property report to the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). SHPO determined that the public land in the report is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places

January 2023

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project in south central Idaho will be released by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on January 13, 2023. The public comment period will end on March 14, 2023. For more information about the Lava Ridge proposal, see additional posts on this page.

We Need Your Help!

  • Sign up today to receive BLM notices and a copy of the DEIS at: https://forms.office.com/r/NDsr6rhtbs  By signing up for this mailing list, you will also receive information about the in-person meetings to be scheduled in January and February in West Coast cities.

  • Submit your comments to the BLM. See below for tips on submitting effective comments.

  • When you submit your comments to BLM, please cc or email your comments to minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com

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Please share this Call To Action with others!

We will provide updates and additional information as they become available.

Deepest thanks to our Local, Regional, and National Partners and our Minidoka community of Survivors, Descendants, and Allies for your ongoing support in this fight!

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How to Submit Effective Comments

Effective comments will produce actionable items for BLM. How to Write Substantive Comments provides tips and examples. As per Kasey Prestwich of the BLM, it is important to:

  • Focus your comments on the proposed project and what is being analyzed.

  • Describe the significance of the potential impacts and how they affect you, others, places, and activities.

  • Provide any new information that is relevant to the project (e.g., potential affected resources).

  • Discuss modifications to existing alternatives or suggest other reasonable alternatives with justification.

  • Provide detailed information and references to back up your comment.

If your comment includes a statement that describes your opposition or support for the project, ensure you describe specific elements of the project or specific potential impacts that are influencing your position. Position statements must include enough information to help the BLM inform reasonable changes to the alternatives or revisions to the assessment of potential impacts. Avoid comments like “I don’t like this” or “I do like this.”

Identical comments are treated as one comment, including form letters.

October 2021
Resources for Writing your Public Comment:

TIPS FOR SUBMITTING A SUBSTANTIVE COMMENT ABOUT THE PROJECT

The BLM is asking for public comments on the proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project that would be in full view of the Minidoka National Historic Site. If approved, it will forever change the landscape and the atmosphere of this site of conscience. Make your public comment count! The proposed 400 unit Lava Ridge Wind Project is the largest wind turbine farm in the United States and is endangering the Minidoka National Historic Site. How can your comment pass the “substantive” test and be considered in the scoping process? Our goal is to have as many effective comments as possible included in the Environmental Impact Statement to significantly alter the outcome.

Tell your personal story about the importance of Minidoka and incorporate the National Park Service’s fundamental resources and values:
 

  • Environmental Setting: “Minidoka’s remote location in the high desert of Idaho provides an immersive setting that is fundamental to the visitor experience. Views of open fields and distant mountains create a sense of isolation on a vast landscape where Minidoka once stood…Extreme changes in temperature, the arid environment, and high winds that the people at Minidoka experienced are part of the environmental setting that are felt today. Experiencing this environmental setting allows visitors to better understand and connect to the daily lives at Minidoka.”
     

  • Commemoration and Healing: Minidoka provides a place “… for engagement, reflection, and healing. These sites provoke connections to individuals affected by the World War II exclusion, forced removal, and unjust incarceration, and serves to commemorate those who survived this difficult chapter of American history.”
     

  • Public Understanding, Education, and Involvement: “Educating and engaging the public in understanding the history of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the fragile nature of civil rights, and the need to protect civil and constitutional rights in the United States is essential...At Minidoka, special events such as the pilgrimage the civil liberties symposium connect the
    public to the history that occurred here and its significance today.”


Watch this video for an information session and writing workshop with these three experts:
 

  • Ben Otto is an Energy Associate for the Idaho Conservation League. Ben protects Idaho’s air quality and climate stability by engaging directly with utilities and state regulators to replace fossil fuels with clean energy.

  • Holly Sandbo is the Northern Rockies' Manager of Outreach and Engagement of the National Parks Conservation Association.

  • Dan Sakura has worked with Japanese American non-profit partners and the National Park Service to create, expand, and protect World War II-era confinement sites as National Parks.
     

They walk through, step by step, how to write an effective public comment that cannot be denied!

Stay Engaged: Ask BLM to Include you as a Consulting Party

 

Sign up for the project mailing list to receive project updates or submit comments by emailing: BLM_ID_LavaRidge@blm.gov

 

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and to provide the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) with a reasonable opportunity to comment. In addition, Federal agencies are required to consult on the Section 106 process with State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO), Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO), Indian Tribes (to include Alaska Natives), Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHO), and other interested parties to identify historic properties, determine whether and how such properties may be affected, and resolve adverse effects. 

If your organization, or you as an individual, would like to be engaged throughout the Section 106 compliance, you can ask to be included as a consulting party. You will then be consulted as an individual or as an organization and notified throughout the Lava Ridge Wind Project. If you are interested in sharing information on these resources or have questions about the Section 106 process, please contact: Kelli Barnes, BLM Idaho State Office, phone: 208-373-3844, email: kbarnes@blm.gov

For more information about the Lava Ridge Wind Project contact:

Kasey Prestwich, Project Manager BLM Shoshone Field Office, phone 208-732-7204, email: kprestwich@blm.gov

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