Yurok Tribe Formally Opposes Offshore Wind Development, Citing Cultural and Environmental Concerns

The Yurok Tribal Council has voted to formally oppose the development of floating offshore wind energy projects off the Yurok coastline in Northern California. The Council cites several reasons for their opposition:

  • The 900-foot-tall wind turbines would negatively impact sacred cultural sites from the coast to the high country
  • There is insufficient research on the potential adverse environmental impacts to the interlinked ecosystem extending from the ocean to the Klamath River
  • The federal government has not recognized the Yurok Tribe’s unceded ocean territory or sovereign authority to determine how this territory should be developed

In January, the Yurok Tribe hosted a first-of-its-kind two-day Offshore Wind Summit, bringing together tribal leaders from the West and East Coasts, government officials, and industry representatives. East Coast tribes shared concerns about offshore wind developers attempting to subvert laws protecting tribal lands and spiritual sites.

The National Congress of American Indians recently issued a resolution calling on the Biden administration to suspend permitting of offshore wind projects until a comprehensive procedure is implemented to adequately protect tribal environmental and sovereign interests.

While the Yurok Tribe strongly supports renewable energy, they want to prevent exploitation of cultural resources and their community, as has occurred with extractive industries in the past. Industries like gold mining, dam construction, and logging devastated the natural landscape and Yurok population in the 19th and 20th centuries, while reaping profits and providing little benefit to the Tribe.

Yurok Vice Chairman Frankie Myers stated, “Dam removal proves that tribes can make monumental positive change when we work together. We will not let the offshore wind companies follow in the same footprints as their predecessors. These projects need to be done right or not at all.”

The Yurok Tribal Council plans to issue a formal resolution detailing their opposition to proposed offshore wind projects in Yurok ancestral waters. They aim to influence these projects to respect tribal sovereignty and prevent further cultural and environmental harm.


One Comment

  1. I stand with the tribes and protect the oceans!

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