R a d i o
R a d i o

Ed Sheets, U.S. Government Operative & Mediator. Paid $$ Big Bucks to Secure Favorable Water Rights Deals for Tribes at Northwestern Irrigators’ Expense.

Ed Sheets is a former special assistant to the late United States Senator Warren Magnuson (D-WA).  Magnuson “carried the [Columbia River] treaty[1] through the White House and the Senate” in 1964 on behalf of President Lyndon Johnson.[2]  With Ed Sheets’ assistance, the late senator also had played a considerable role in enacting onerous and sweeping federal legislation during the 1970’s that supported Indian treaty and cultural fishing rights, and protected fish, wildlife and the environment, all at the expense of irrigators and industry.  In other words, Mr. Sheets is and was a radical environmentalist who seeks to provide Indian tribes with ongoing preferences at the expense of irrigators.

 

These Magnuson-sponsored laws included the following:

 

  • The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972;[3]
    • “The consensus among federal land-holding agencies was that section 304(1) of CZMA excluded from a state's coastal zone all […] federal lands regardless of legislative jurisdiction status.[fn]The federal agencies concluded [as evidenced by the legislative history], therefore, that CZMA’s reference to federal lands ‘subject solely to the discretion of the Federal Government’ [fn] was not synonymous with the concept of lands held under exclusive federal legislative jurisdiction.[fn]‘The coastal zone is meant to include the non-Federal coastal waters and the non-Federal land beneath the coastal waters, and the adjacent non-Federal shore lands including the waters therein and thereunder…All Federal agencies conducting or supporting activities in the coastal zone are required to administer their programs consistent with approved state management programs. However, such requirements do not…extend state authority to land subject solely to the discretion of the Federal Government such as national parks, forests and wildlife refuges, Indian reservations and defense establishments.’”[4]

 

  • The Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation & Management Act of 1976;[5]
    • Section 303(a)(2) of the Act provides that, “Any fishery management plan which is prepared by any Council, or by the Secretary, with respect to any fishery, shall […] (2) contain a description of the fishery, including, but not limited to, the number of vessels involved, the type and quantity of fishing gear used, the species of fish involved and their location, the cost likely to be incurred in management, actual and potential revenues from the fishery, any recreational interests in the fishery, and the nature and extent of foreign fishing and Indian treaty fishing rights, if any…”

 

  • The 1977 amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972;
    • “The 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act established a Federal responsibility to conserve marine mammals with management vested in the Department of Interior for sea otter, walrus, polar bear, dugong, and manatee. The Department of Commerce is responsible for cetaceans and pinnipeds, other than the walrus. With certain specified exceptions, the Act establishes a moratorium on the taking and importation of marine mammals as well as products taken from them, and establishes procedures for waiving the moratorium and transferring management responsibility to the States. […] The 1972 law exempted Indians, Aleut, and Eskimos (who dwell on the coast of the North Pacific Ocean) from the moratorium on taking provided that taking was conducted for the sake of subsistence or for the purpose of creating and selling authentic native articles of handicraft and clothing.”[6]
    • The 1977 MMA amendments banned passage of supertankers and limited passage of oil tankers and barges through Puget Sound.It also “forbid federal officials from approving expansions of docks or terminals where more crude oil might be offloaded.”[7]
    • The original MMA had been amended many times in the ensuing years, and several such amendments ultimately proved quite controversial.These included the Endangered Species Act of 1973,[1] to which Magnuson sponsored several amendments in 1976,[2] and the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries and Conservation Act of 1976 (above).[8]

 

  • The Salmon and Steelhead Enhancement Act of 1980;[9]
    • “The Act established a Washington State and Columbia River conservation area and directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish an advisory committee of representatives from Washington and Oregon, the Washington and Columbia River tribal bodies, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. It also directed that a report be submitted to the Secretary of Commerce and Congress, and the Secretary of the Interior was authorized to establish a grant program for each conservation area.”[10]

 

  • The Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980 (Northwest Power Act).[11]
    • Section 2(3) of the Act provides that, “The purposes of this Act, together with the provisions of other laws applicable to the Federal Columbia River Power System, are all intended to be construed in a consistent manner. Such purposes are also intended to be construed in a manner consistent with applicable environmental laws. Such purposes are: […] (3) to provide for the participation and consultation of the Pacific Northwest States, local governments, consumers, customers, users of the Columbia River System (including Federal and State fish and wildlife agencies and appropriate Indian tribes), and the public at large within the region in—(A) the development of regional plans and programs related to energy conservation, renewable resources, other resources, and protecting, mitigating, and enhancing fish and wildlife resources…”
    • Section 3(11) provides that, “(11) ‘Indian tribe’ means any Indian tribe or band which is located in whole or in part in the region and which has a governing body which is recognized by the Secretary of the Interior.”

 

Senator Magnuson was a close ally of the late Billy Frank Jr., a Native American activist who headed the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for more than 30 years and engaged in extensive protest in favor of Indian treaty rights and environmental stewardship to ensure the access of Stevens Treaty tribes to at least half the salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest.  As reported, Franks’ activism resulted in the Boldt decision of 1974 [United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974) aff’d and remanded, 520 F.2d 676 (9th Cir. 1975)], “which reaffirmed tribal co-management of salmon resources in the state of Washington.” And, Frank’s close relationship with Magnuson resulted in the former Senator strongly advocating in favor of greater tribal off-reservation fishing rights in the Northwest.  With Billy Frank’s assistance, Magnuson was able to pass, in addition to the Magnuson Stevens Act, the Salmon and Steelhead Enhancement Act of 1980 and the Northwest Power Act of 1980. 

 

Author Trova Heffernan, in her book Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr., describes this relationship.

 

“The fishing struggle worked its way from the riverbank to the floor of the U.S. Senate. Billy and the tribes could have lost their treaty rights in a buyout. In an attempt to resolve the fishing crisis, Warren Magnuson, Washington’s longtime U.S. senator, proposed the government buy the tribes’ treaty rights or allow the state to regulate off-reservation Indian fishing. ‘These [Indian] treaties are still on the books today,’ Magnuson attested. ‘They are supreme law of the land and they must be respected and honored…The only concession reserved to the Indians was the right of taking fish at all usual and accustomed grounds and if they are to be deprived of any part of this they should be properly compensated…I believe these treaties are part of our heritage—but solely, in support of fish conservation, I believe that these treaties should fit present day conditions in the overall consideration for maintaining our fishery resources’” (emphasis added).[12]

 

“[…] Billy supported Magnuson’s bill, with some adjustments […] The Salmon and Steelhead Enhancement Act passed three days before Christmas in 1980, just weeks after Magnuson’s defeat by Slade Gorton. […] Billy and Magnuson’s friendship produced tangible results. In 1980, the site of Wa He Lut Indian School at Frank’s Landing transferred into federal trust status. The lot adjacent to the Landing was now a permanent location for the school. In 1987, Frank’s Landing was deemed eligible for federal funding to aid in education at Wa He Lut. Their friendship was also key in the passage of the Northwest Power Act of 1980, says Adams. The law targeted dams on the Columbia River and required a regional energy conservation plan mindful of salmon.”[13]

 

“Generally speaking, Magnuson became more favorable to Indian interests because of Billy, says Adams. “By the end, when Senator Magnuson came to know Billy, he found that he liked Billy and began to see Indians in a different way. You had Warren Magnuson fighting as strongly for Indians as he ever fought against them at the end of his Senate career.”[14]

 

“The 1980 Senate race between Magnuson and Gorton was Billy’s first major foray into mainstream electoral politics. He campaigned relentlessly on behalf of his new friend, Warren Magnuson, and doggedly against his longtime adversary, Slade Gorton.”[15]

 

“[…] As the years went by, the friendship between the retired senator and the tribal leader grew. Billy helped commission a totem pole, carved by master craftsmen from the Lummi Nation, to present to Magnuson on his eighty-sixth birthday. The yellow cedar work of art still looks out toward Puget Sound from Maggie’s home on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill. It reveals the story of the senator’s rise as a friend of the environment, the tribes, and the fish.

 

‘Billy always took the time to drop in on Senator Magnuson, bring him some smoked salmon and just sit and share stories about the state,’ [Magnuson’s former legislative director Thomas] Keefe remembered. ‘They were quite a pair.’

 

When complications related to diabetes took Magnuson’s life in May 1989, his wife personally invited Billy to the memorial service, a grand affair at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. One thousand people bid the longtime politician farewell.”[16]

 

At least one author has documented Ed Sheets’ role in assisting Magnuson to enact the shipping limitations imposed by the 1977 amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. 

 

“The oil issue became critical when Governor Ray climbed down from the bridge of the Arco tanker alongside Cherry Point, apparently determined to amend the Coastal Zone Management Act to allow an oil port at Cherry Point – an open door into Puget Sound for supertankers of over 125 DWT.  It was too much for Maggie.

 

In response, Magnuson issued a statement saying ‘Washington state has little to gain from oil transshipment, but much to lose.’ Besides, he noted, ‘far too little has been said about financing any pipeline…I would hope they are not thinking of federal financing.’  Then he backed his words with action.

 

‘We had good intelligence in NOAA,’ said Ed Sheets, the Magnuson aide on maritime matters and later the executive director of the Northwest Power Planning Council. ‘We knew the moves taking place. Magnuson though the combination of an oil port and the pipeline put the Sound at too great a risk.  He had no confidence in technology saving Puget Sound from an oil spill.  The problem loomed suddenly.  The question was what to do.’

 

As it happened, in 1977, Maggie’s Marine Mammals Protection Act passed by Congress a year earlier, came up again for reauthorization.  Ed Sheets realized the routine reauthorization measure was a vehicle Maggie could use to place a ban on supertanker traffic east of Port Angeles, Washington, a mill town on the Strait of Juan de Fuca opposite Victoria, British Columbia.”[17]

 

“[…] Passage of the amendment effectively banned supertanker traffic east of Port Angeles by forbidding construction of new oil ports.  No oil ports at Cherry Point, no supertankers.  Ed Sheets, the staffer who drafted the amendment and kept Magnuson briefed on its progress, said years later, ‘Out of deference to [Senator] Jackson, Maggie didn’t go all the way in banning oil ports, and thus, supertankers, from Washington waters inside Cape Flattery.”[18]

 

Following Senator Magnuson’s electoral defeat in 1980, “Magnuson’s energy advisor, Ed Sheets turned to Washington State politics.  He [was] head of the State Energy Office.”[19]  Sheets has since continued to fulfill the legislative legacy of Senator Magnuson – particularly, tribal and environmental interests, all at the expense of Northwestern irrigators.

 

As the documents posted on this website reveal, Mr. Sheets has since worked on the following controversial matters to facilitate and/or implement:

 

  • “15 Columbia Basin Indian tribes in the development of a common views document and other position papers for the review and potential modification of the Columbia River Treaty;”
  • “[T]he Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority[’s] development of a five-year action plan for implementation of fish and wildlife restoration actions;”
  • “The Wapato Irrigation District settlement [at the Yakima Reservation in Washington] between the Department of the Interior and Yakama Nation regarding operations, maintenance, and construction issues;”
  • “[T]he Snake River [Idaho] Water Settlement [involving] nine federal agencies, the State of Idaho, the Nez Perce Tribe, 62 cities and towns, and 78 Idaho irrigation districts” resolving competing tribal and irrigator water rights claims consistent with the Endangered Species Act;
  • “[T]he the ESA consultation process for the Klamath Reclamation Project working with the Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service;”
  • “[The] Montana Water Rights Settlement [,wherein he] assist[ed] the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, State of Montana, the federal government, and irrigators in the negotiation of a comprehensive water rights settlement on the Flathead Indian Reservation [and is currently a]ssisting in the implementation of the settlement;”
    • Ed Sheets is currently facilitating the CSKT Water Compact’s Compact Implementation Technical Team (CITT).
  • “[S]ettlements among more than 50 organizations, including seven federal agencies, the states of Oregon and California, three Indian tribes, farmers and ranchers, environmental organizations,” thereby resulting in three agreements (the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA)).The KBRA terminated in 2015;
    • Ed Sheets is currently facilitating the KHSA amendment process pursuant to “secret” meetings in other than a publicly open, transparent and inclusive manner.

 

Ed Sheets is the ongoing recipient of indefinite (ongoing) lucrative U.S. government consulting contracts entered into with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (“DOI-BOR”).  

 

Website sources reveal that Mr. Sheets has earned from DOI-BOR approximately $1.61 million, since 2000, for his Klamath Basin work, at the expense of Southern Oregon and Northern California irrigators.  His Klamath Basin contracts have ranged in amount from fewer than $10,000 in a given year (e.g., 2010), from $100,105.66 to $200,245 contracts in 2014, and from $16,261.06 to $44,500 to $113,279.21 contracts, thus far, in 2016.   Mr. Sheet’s handiwork has emboldened Klamath Basin Indian tribes to assert for pending adjudication off-reservation instream flow rights bearing a time-immemorial priority date, even in the absence of a reservation (e.g., Klamath Tribes) at the expense or Klamath Basin irrigators.

 

Website sources also reveal that Mr. Sheets is being paid $195/hour for facilitating the implementation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (“CSKT”) Water Compact on the Flathead Indian Reservation, in northwestern Montana.   In particular, Mr. Sheets   serves as Chair of the Compact Implementation Technical Team (CITT), and will be convening eight meetings and monthly conference calls between August 2015 and July 2017.   It is well known that reservation irrigator water rights will be severely curtailed and diminished in value because of the CITT’s pro-Indian composition, and because the CSKT have filed in the Montana Water Court thousands of water rights claims asserting off-reservation instream flow rights with a time-immemorial priority date, at the expense of junior reservation irrigator water rights. 

 

In both regions, Mr. Sheets has been rewarded for ensuring that irrigators, under threat from Indian water court adjudications, capitulate to the area tribes as well as the environmental activists supporting them.

 

 


[1] See Shelby Scates, Warren G. Magnuson and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century America, University of Washington Press (1997), at p. 188, available at: https://books.google.com/books?id=CdtuNei1VXwC&pg=PR2&lpg=PR2&dq=Warren+G.+Magnuson+and+the+Shaping+of+Twentieth-Century+America&source=bl&ots=yiLjSbre2K&sig=w6tkmmjeG_1yGRsy6I99f3KCXUQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwig34PCwrrLAhUBYSYKHbFIAbYQ6AEIPTAG#v=onepage&q=Warren%20G.%20Magnuson%20and%20the%20Shaping%20of%20Twentieth-Century%20America&f=false

[2] See Govtrack.US, Endangered Species, available at: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/subjects/endangered_species/332?congress=94 and http://thomas.gov/cgi-bin/bssQuery/?&Opt=S&Db=094&srch=/home/LegislativeData.php?n=BSS&TxtStr=ENDANGERED+SPECIES (“S. 2582 (94th): A bill to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Sponsor: Sen. Warren Magnuson [D-WA, 1944-1980] Introduced: Oct 28, 1975 Referred to Committee: Oct 28, 1975. […] S. 2334 (94th): A bill to amend section 15(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to extend the appropriation authorization. Sponsor: Sen. Warren Magnuson [D-WA, 1944-1980] Introduced: Sep 11, 1975 Referred to Committee: Sep 11, 1975.”).

 


[1] See Trova Heffernan, Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr., University of Washington Press (2012), at p. 188, available at: https://www.sos.wa.gov/legacyproject/oralhistories/billyfrankjr/pdf/complete.pdfSee also U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bonneville Power Administration, Columbia River Treaty History and 2014/2024 Review (2014), available at: http://www.crt2014-2024review.gov/Files/Columbia%20River%20Treaty%20Review%20_revisedJune2014.pdf; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bonneville Power Administration, Columbia River Treaty History and Treaty Review On behalf of the United States Entity (Summer 2012), available at: http://www.crt2014-2024review.gov/Files/Columbia%20River%20Treaty%20Slide%20A%20package.pdf.

[2] See Phil Dougherty, Implementation of Columbia River Treaty between United States and Canada is celebrated at International Peace Arch in Blaine on September 16, 1964, HistoryLink.org Essay 9122 (Aug. 23, 2009), available at: http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=9122.

[3] See United States Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office for Coastal Management, Coastal Zone Management Act, available at: https://coast.noaa.gov/czm/act/See also P.L. 92-583 (86 Stat 1280), Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (Oct. 27, 1972), available at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-86/pdf/STATUTE-86-Pg1280.pdf.

[4] See Michael E. Shapiro, Coastal Zone Management and Excluded Federal Lands: The Viability of Continued Federalism in the Management of Federal Coastlands, 7 Ecology L.Q. (1979), at pp. 1016-1017 (), available at: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1153&context=elq.

[5] See United States Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region, Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation & Management Act, available at: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/whatwedo/msa/magnuson_stevens_act.html; United States Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Sustainable Fisheries, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, available at: http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/sfa/laws_policies/msa/index.html. See also P.L. 94-265 (90 Stat. 331), Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (April 13, 1976), available at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-90/pdf/STATUTE-90-Pg331.pdf

[6] See United States Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (Cache of March 5, 2016), available at: https://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/MARMAM.HTML.

[7] See Bert Caldwell, Don’t Touch Magnuson Amendment, The Spokesman-Review (Dec. 1, 2005), available at: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2005/dec/01/dont-touch-magnuson-amendment/.  See also Kit Oldham, Congress Passes Senator Warren Magnuson’s Amendment Banning Supertankers in Puget Sound on October 5, 1977, HistoryLink.org Essay 5620 (Nov. 26, 2003), available at: http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=5620.

[8] See AllGov, Marine Mammal Commission, available at: http://www.allgov.com/departments/independent-agencies/marine-mammal-commission?agencyid=7343 (The MMA “has been amended several times over the years. The amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act include: the Endangered Species Act, 1973; the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, 1976, 1977, 1978; the Congressional Reports Elimination Act of 1980, 1981; the Fisheries Amendments of 1982, 1984, 1986; the Marine Mammal Protection Act Amendments of 1988; the Fishery Conservation Amendments of 1990, 1992; the International Dolphin Conservation Act of 1992; the High Seas Driftnet Fisheries Enforcement Act, 1992; the Oceans Act of 1992, 1993, 1994; the Marine Mammal Protection Act Amendments of 1994; the Fisheries Act of 1995, 1996, 1997; the Sustainable Fisheries Act, 1996; the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act, 1997, 1998, 1999; the Striped Bass Conservation, Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Management, the Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Act of 2000, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 As Amended November 2001.”)

[9] See P.L. 96-561 (94 Stat. 3275), Salmon and Steelhead Conservation and Enhancement Act of 1980 (Dec. 22, 1980), available at: http://uscode.house.gov/statutes/pl/96/561.pdf

[10] See United States Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Salmon and Steelhead Conservation and Enhancement Act (Cache of Feb. 27, 2016), available at: https://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/SALMON.HTML.

[11] See P.L. 96-501 (94 Stat. 2697), Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act (Dec. 5, 1980), available at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-94/pdf/STATUTE-94-Pg2697.pdf.

[12] See Trova Heffernan, Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr., University of Washington Press (2012), supra at p. 80.

[13] Id., at p. 179.

[14] Id., at pp. 179-180.

[15] Id., at p. 180.

[16] Id., at p. 181.

[17] See Shelby Scates, Warren G. Magnuson and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century America, University of Washington Press (1997), at p. 304, available at: https://books.google.com/books?id=CdtuNei1VXwC&pg=PR2&lpg=PR2&dq=Warren+G.+Magnuson+and+the+Shaping+of+Twentieth-Century+America&source=bl&ots=yiLjSbre2K&sig=w6tkmmjeG_1yGRsy6I99f3KCXUQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwig34PCwrrLAhUBYSYKHbFIAbYQ6AEIPTAG#v=onepage&q=Warren%20G.%20Magnuson%20and%20the%20Shaping%20of%20Twentieth-Century%20America&f=false.

[18] Id., at p. 305.

[19] See Rick Bonino, Ex-Aides Scramble for Jobs, The Spokesman Review (April 5, 1981) at p. A-21, available at:  https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19810405&id=ZwYkAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XO4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=5290,1734731&hl=en.

 

From Jan/Feb 1988- Northwest Energy News.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced 
plans to change its mission from one of developing 
water resources to one of conserving them. After 
more than 85 years in the business of dam building 
and irrigating deserts for agricultural purposes, the 
Bureau has concluded that its mission in those areas 
h IS been accomplished. Its new mission will include 
r<a'- iip existing Bureau projects — some of the largest 
d.ni. and most complex irrigation systems in the 
world — more eft'icient and more responsive to 
environmental concerns. The Bureau may also apply 
its engineering capabilities to looming problems such 
as the depletion of groundwater and the build-up of 
silt and toxic wastes in Bureau projects. (Source: New 
York Times, Sunday, Novembers, 1987.) 


 

 
Central 

 
Northwest Power Planning Council 
851 S W Sixth, Suite 1100 
Portland, Oregon 97204 
Telephone: 503-222-5161 
Toll Free 1-800-222-3355 
( 1 -800-452-2324 in Oregon) 
Executive Director Edward Sheets 
Information Director: Dulcy tvlahar 

 

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