ALLEGANY/CATTARAUGUS TERRITORIES, N.Y. – The Seneca Nation has notified the Village of Portville, New York of its intent to take legal action following the Village’s failure to abate persistent discharges of pollutants that are negatively impacting the Ohi:yo’ (Allegheny River), which runs through the Nation’s Allegany Territory.
The Nation sent a notice of intent to initiate civil action against the Village pursuant to Section 301 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1311(a) for discharging solids and fecal coliform, among other things, in excess of the legal limits on a regular and continuing basis from January 2015 through April 6, 2021.
As Keepers of the Western Door and historic stewards of the environment, the Nation has been both greatly dismayed and significantly harmed by Portville’s flagrant disregard for both the letter of the law and the health and wellbeing of its downstream neighbors.
“Clean, safe water is a basic human right,” said Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels. “The Seneca people have a longstanding tradition of fishing, hunting, gathering, swimming, or simply relaxing in and around the Ohi:yo’. Polluting the waters that pass through our land is nothing short of an insult to our Nation and something for which we will not stand. Ohi:yo’ in Seneca means ‘beautiful’ or ‘good’ and we intend to make sure that description is accurate.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the excessive discharges from the Village of Portville Water Treatment Plant into Dodge Creek, a tributary of the Ohi:yo’, have violated the terms of its state discharge permit for more than five years. The Seneca Nation intends to sue for all Clean Water Act violations and is seeking civil penalties for any additional violations discovered in the future – including during the course of litigation - as well as any that might occur subsequent to this notice.
In addition, the Nation will seek an injunction in an effort to halt the continued illegal discharges, as well as costs, attorney and expert witness fees, and any other additional relief that the court might determine to be appropriate.
“Due to the persistent nature of these violations, it is likely ongoing violations will occur if no legal action is taken,” said Pagels. “To date, neither the state nor federal governments has taken action to right this egregious wrong.”
“As such, the Seneca Nation has taken matters into its own hands and is doubling down on its efforts to protect and restore its waterways for generations to come,” the President continued. “Other communities both up and downstream of our Territories should take heed. The Nation plans to use every tool at its disposal to safeguard this precious resource; our very lives depend on it.”
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President Pagels acknowledges the closing of Women’s History Month, while also giving updates on vaccination availability and Nation travel policy. He announces the annual Community Fair, surveys being done by the Climate Change Task Force and Department of Transportation, as well as registration for virtual participation for April’s regular Council session.
In recognition of the conclusion of Women's History Month, the Seneca Nation expresses profound gratitude for the mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, and daughters who are the heart of our Nation. We honor their strength, wisdom, and resilience in this video highlighting some of the amazing women of the Seneca Nation. They continue to blaze trails, achieve great successes, and set a powerful example for all the women proudly following in their footsteps.
Public Meeting Notice for the Seneca Nation Long Range Transportation Plan and the Iroquois/Broad Roundabout project.
Part 1) Long Range Transportation Plan - 4/28 @ 5:00 PM
Part 2) Iroquois and Broad Roundabout Project - 4/28 @ 6:00 PM
PART 1: The Seneca DOT and Qk4 are currently finalizing a draft of the
Seneca Nation’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The 2021 LRTP is
intended as a tool to help lay out the Nation’s transportation vision over the
next 20+ years. The LRTP defines a set of goals to provide funding guidance
to improve the Nation’s transportation system and target funding towards
priorities that are needed most. The LRTP also identifies short- and longrange
transportation improvement strategies that will address current and
future transportation needs.
PART 2: The Seneca DOT and Qk4 are currently finalizing conceptual
layouts for the up and coming roundabout project that will take place at the
intersection of Iroquois Ave. and Broad Street (near Tim Horton’s) in the
City of Salamanca on the Allegany Territory. This project has been identified
as a safety priority to limit the frequency and severity of accidents at the
intersection as well as improve traffic flow.
These two meetings will be held in a virtual format and will be hosted by
representatives from Qk4 and DOT staff. Questions will be taken throughout
each presentation and will be answered following the presentation. If you'd
like more information on either project, or would like to view a copy of the
LRTP, please contact Ben Anderson at Benjamin.Anderson@sni.org.
The Seneca Nation Department of Transportation is looking for public input from everyone who uses the Seneca Transportation System (roads, trails, transit etc. on the Seneca Nation). Please follow the links on the flyer or below to take a short survey and check out the DRAFT 2021 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).
Council Co-Chair Presley Redeye, standing in for President Pagels, offers condolences for the passing of Andrew John. He provides updates about COVID cases and the Seneca Nation Health System now making appointments for enrolled Nation members, Seneca Nation Health System patients, and those eligible for services at the Health System over the age of 18.