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Letter to Biden - Individual Signatures needed to halt the Lava Ridge Wind Project near Minidoka National Historic Site

 

We need your help to protect the solemn and reflective immersive experience at Minidoka National Historic site from a massive commercial development on public lands. A project like this sets a dangerous precedent for other JA and BIPOC sites of commemoration and healing.

 

Review and sign onto the letter here.
 

Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee, Friends of Minidoka and JACL National request individual signatures for a letter going directly to President Biden. Please circulate widely to family, friends and community groups. Deadline to sign is July 10, 2024.

 

For more information click here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JUNE 6, 2024

Media contact: Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee, Erin Shigaki erin@minidokapilgrimage.org

Japanese Americans Blast BLM’s Decision to Desecrate Minidoka, a Sacred WWII Imprisonment Site in Idaho

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – Today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) approving the proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project in the viewshed of the Minidoka National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park System.  The BLM’s preferred alternatives would desecrate sacred ground and reverse nearly fifty years of efforts to tell the story of the incarceration of Japanese Americands and Alaska Natives during World War II.  

The Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee is a Seattle-based volunteer-run organization of survivors and descendants of the Japanese American incarceration, as well as allies. Our guiding mission is to honor and provide healing for the generations of our families and community members who were imprisoned during World War II in one of 75 American prison camps.

We also strive to educate the general public and fight efforts to erase our history. The U.S. government unconstitutionally imprisoned more than 13,000 Japanese Americans and Alaska Natives at Minidoka.

Less than a month from today, hundreds of pilgrims will converge on Twin Falls, Idaho and the Minidoka National Historic Site for our annual pilgrimage from July 4-July 7 for three days of education, reflection, healing and reunion.

The construction of a wind farm consisting of hundreds wind turbines standing as high as 660 feet tall will damage the setting and feeling of the site as our forebears lived it. Minidoka descendant and a leader of the Pilgrimage Committee Erin Shigaki says: “It is unconscionable to build an incredibly visible symbol of America’s corporate greed right in front of us–as we try to commune with our ancestors, as we try to bring our last few survivors there to make peace with what befell them, and as we try to engage our youth and others in this erased American history in a deep and personal way.”

We appreciate Congress’s bipartisan leadership to pass legislation in 2024 to direct BLM to engage with stakeholders.  However, on the eve of our 2024 pilgrimage, we are disappointed and saddened with the FEIS. We urge the Biden Administration to live up to principles of racial and environmental justice by adopting NO ACTION-Alternative A in the Record of Decision later this summer.  We ask it to adopt permanent protections for Minidoka to preserve this sacred site that honors the courage and sacrifice of Japanese Americans including nearly 1,000 service members and 73 who gave their lives to defend freedom.

“BLM is taking an historic site, held in public trust, and selling it to a private equity company; stealing the future experiences of all descendants and visitors of Minidoka. This is a sacred and irreplaceable site for our families,” said Gloria Shigeno, a survivor of the Minidoka concentration camp. “Haven’t we been harmed enough by our own government?”

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December 2022 Important Update!

The Bureau of Land Management will release the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project on January 13, 2023. The DEIS will include alternatives to the proposed project based on community feedback over the past year.

Our community will have 60 days from the release of the DEIS to send comment emails and letters to the BLM. Friends of Minidoka will share our response with you a week or two after the DEIS is released. At that time, we will provide information on how to submit effective comments.

Fill out the BLM’s form to be added to the mailing list to receive the DEIS in January. Click HERE to go to the form.

The BLM will be holding community meetings in West Coast cities after the DEIS is released. We will update you as more information becomes available.

 

 

 

November 2021 Update

In August, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the Biden Administration's decision to study a massive wind project, up to 400 wind turbines taller than the Washington National Monument, which would be located on the historic footprint of Minidoka and within two miles of the national park's new visitor center. If approved, the Lava Ridge Wind Project would significantly impair the park's ability to tell the story of Minidoka and to serve as a place for learning, healing, and celebrating our heritage for generations to come. Working closely with JACL chapters, the Friends of Minidoka and our organization, the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee helped Minidoka survivors, Japanese American organizations, and conservation partners submit more than 1,000 public comment letters to the BLM by the October 20 deadline.  

 

Our Fight is Not Over

While the Bureau of Land Management is drafting an environmental impact statement, we need your help to stop Lava Ridge through partnerships, advocacy, media, fundraising, and technical expertise including expertise in electric power generation and transmission in the western United States to advise the Minidoka team on strategy.  We also are looking for litigation counsel with expertise in the National Environmental Policy Act and related laws.  If you have questions or would like to help, please reach out to info@minidoka.org and minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com or check www.minidoka.org and here for updates.


With your support, we can protect Minidoka's sacred ground for current and future generations! Renewable energy should not come at the cost of communities of color.

October 2021

Minidoka National Historic Site’s historic, natural, and cultural resources are currently being threatened. Magic Valley Energy has proposed the Lava Ridge Wind Project, a 400-unit wind turbine field on 73,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property adjacent to Minidoka, 25 miles northeast of Twin Falls, Idaho. If built, it will be one of the largest in the U.S. Several turbines are slated to be installed on the historic footprint of the camp, and almost all are completely visible from the WWII Japanese American incarceration site in Southern Idaho.

The proposed project includes up to 400 wind energy generating turbines, up to seven new substations, approximately 198 miles of 34.5 kilovolt (kV) collector lines, 34 miles of 230 kV transmission lines, 18 miles of 500 kV transmission lines, 381 miles of access roads, 47 miles of temporary crane walk paths, a battery energy storage system, three operations and maintenance facilities, five permanent met towers, and construction-related staging yards. Engineering is preliminary, but the turbines may have a maximum height (including the rotor) of up to 740 feet. View project map.

Read the full project plan of development, guidance on submitting public comment, the full timeline and planning process, and other BLM documents here:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2013782/540

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is prepared for major federal actions that may have a significant effect on the environment. The purpose of an EIS is to identify potential issues related to the project, analyze the project impacts, disclose them to the public, and use the information developed to make informed decisions. The EIS is a public document, and the public is encouraged to provide input throughout the development of the EIS. The EIS is currently in the first stage, called public scoping, in which potential environmental issues, project modifications, and mitigation to be evaluated in the draft EIS are identified. 

 

 

More Resources on The Lava Ridge Project

 

Briefing Document by Dan Sakura

Read more from Dan Sakura as he and the Team explain the impact of the project:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1f1y9vzdkQnPuOfQ5Ayf_a5dAW4wBOskx/view

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lava Ridge Information Sheet

Briefly explains the Lava Ridge Wind Project and the BLM process:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qbR8TSoasfPGDCUqRQJULjcWhlQwwNw5/view

What is an Environmental Impact Statement? 

Read the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s explanation here: https://www.epa.gov/nepa/national-environmental-policy-act-review-process

 

 

 
Resources About Minidoka

 

Mindoka Foundation Document

Details the National Historic Site: 

​​http://npshistory.com/publications/foundation-documents/miin-fd-overview.pdf

 

Friends of Minidoka

http://www.minidoka.org/

Minidoka National Historic Site:

https://www.nps.gov/miin/index.htm

 
Further Questions?

If you would like to help out or have any questions, you can send them to: 

minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com

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