Opposing Oregon Senate Bill 444 and Any Other New Nuclear Power Plants in Oregon

Res #: Committee: Submitted by: Title:         Pass → Yes No Amended/Tabled To NCAI
19-10 Natural Resources/Lands Taylor Aalvik Opposing Oregon Senate Bill 444 and Any Other New Nuclear Power Plants in Oregon X

 2019 Winter Convention 

Portland Oregon 

RESOLUTION #19 – 10 




We, the members of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants rights secured under Indian Treaties, Executive Orders, and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and constitution of the United States and several states, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise to promote the welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution: 

WHEREAS, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) are representatives of and advocates for national, regional, and specific tribal concerns; and 

WHEREAS, ATNI is a regional organization comprised of American Indians/Alaska Natives and tribes in the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Northern California, and Alaska; and 

WHEREAS, the health, safety, welfare, education, economic and employment opportunity, and preservation of cultural and natural resources are primary goals and objectives of the ATNI; and 

WHEREAS, since time immemorial, our economy, culture, religions and way of life has been centered around our fishing, hunting, and gathering resources, and the lands and waters upon which they depend, and we have been and remain careful and conscientious stewards over them to ensure their continued health and well-being; and 

WHEREAS, ATNI member Tribes depend on the natural resources of this region to sustain our way of life, rights to fish, hunt and gather, our economies, human health and fulfill our sacred obligation to protect our First Foods and our most precious natural resources, water; and 

WHEREAS, ATNI member Tribes work tirelessly to protect tribal members health, safety, welfare, and futures both within and external to tribal reservations; and 

WHEREAS, ATNI member Tribes recognize that, notwithstanding new smaller modular designs being developed in North America, all nuclear power requires nuclear fuel and generates nuclear waste; and 

WHEREAS, uranium mining, nuclear power and nuclear weapons production, and nuclear waste disposal has occurred in areas within or in close proximity to tribal lands without significant input or consideration of tribal interests or rights; and 

WHEREAS, the nuclear fuel cycle poses significant risks to human safety, human health, sacred foods & medicines, homelands, waterways, and the air relied upon by ATNI tribes due to its long-lived toxicity; and 

WHEREAS, Oregon law currently prohibits the construction of nuclear power plants in Oregon until “an adequate repository for the disposal of the high-level radioactive waste produced by the plant has been licensed to operate by the appropriate agency of the federal government” (ORS 469.595). If such a high-level radioactive waste repository is federally licensed, then the proposed nuclear plant in Oregon is subject to statewide voter approval (ORS 469.597); and 

WHEREAS, Oregon Senate Bill 444 would change Oregon’s law to allow Oregon cities and counties to pass ordinances allowing nuclear reactors of 300 megawatts or less in their jurisdiction without a permanent repository for the high-level radioactive waste they would create; and 

WHEREAS, Oregon Senate Bill 444 would also bypass the current requirement for statewide voter approval for new nuclear reactors in the state of Oregon; and 

WHEREAS, current Oregon laws provide important protections for tribal communities and the resources they rely upon who may face contamination from the construction and operation of new nuclear power plants and risks from orphaned nuclear waste; and 

WHEREAS, radioactive waste from the shuttered Trojan Nuclear Power Plant remains stored on the shores of the Columbia River, a testament to the difficulty of identifying a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste; now 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that ATNI opposes Senate Bill 444; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that ATNI hereby supports the basic principle that new nuclear power plants must demonstrate the availability of a deep geologic repository for high-level waste before gaining approval; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that ATNI has identified that nuclear waste often places a disproportionate pollution burden on tribal communities, and a county-level or city-level vote may not be the appropriate forum to address these challenges; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that ATNI calls upon the 2019 Oregon Legislature to reject Senate Bill 444 and any other new nuclear power plants in Oregon. 


The foregoing resolution was adopted at the 2019 Winter Convention of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Portland, Oregon, on January 28-31, 2019, with a quorum present. 

______________________________ ______________________________ 

Leonard Forsman, President Norma Jean Louie, Secretary 

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