Mo­hawks be­come first tribe to take down a fed­eral dam

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

HOGANSBURG | A cen­tury af­ter the first com­mer­cial dam was built on the St. Regis River, block­ing the spawn­ing runs of salmon and stur­geon, the stream once cen­tral to the tra­di­tional cul­ture of New York’s Mo­hawk Tribe is flow­ing freely once again.

The re­moval of the 11-foot-high Hogansburg Dam this fall is the lat­est in the tribe’s decades-long strug­gle to re­store ter­ri­tory de­filed by in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion, be­gin­ning in the 1980s with PCBs and heavy met­als from nearby Gen­eral Mo­tors, Al­coa and Reynolds Metal plants, a cleanup un­der fed­eral over­sight that’s nearly com­plete.

The St. Regis River project is the first re­moval of an op­er­at­ing hy­dro­elec­tric dam in New York state and the na­tion’s first de­com­mis­sion­ing of a fed­er­ally li­censed dam by a Na­tive Amer­i­can tribe, fed­eral of­fi­cials say.

Paired with the re­cent suc­cess of

North Dakota’s Stand­ing Rock Sioux in rerout­ing a pipe­line they feared could threaten their wa­ter sup­ply, the dam’s re­moval un­der­scores long­stand­ing con­cern over the health of tribal lands.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Ed­die John­son and oth­ers have urged law­mak­ers for months to pass a bill that in­creases prison sen­tences for de­fen­dants who pre­vi­ously com­mit­ted a gun-re­lated crime.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul is work­ing on a pro­posal for next year’s ses­sion that would di­rect judges to im­pose longer sen­tences on re­peat gun of­fend­ers. But his mea­sure would not im­pose a new manda­tory min­i­mum.

Chicago has topped 700 homi­cides this year, out­strip­ping 2015’s to­tal of 468 homi­cides.

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