CBS Blows the Whistle on Lakotah Electricity Scandal

March 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Media, News

HARLEY CARNES NOT JUST ANOTHER STORY: 03/02/09

CLICK TO LISTEN TO THE BROADCAST njas-mar-03-09

Date: 03/02/2009 Length: 00:01:29

Families Freezing in Nation’s Poorest County:

PUBLIC UTILITIES “CUT” ON CROW CREEK RESERVATION

(Fort Thompson, SD) Electric company caught “pulling meters” (CLICK TO VIEW THE VIDEO) in the poorest community in the nation, leaving America’s most vulnerable people without power in the dead of winter. Predatory electric companies continue to conduct these atrocious practices amid growing public outcry and damning national media scrutiny. Headlines in newspapers across the country highlight unnecessary tragedies as arctic winter months reveal the electric company’s controversial conduct of shutting off the community’s power, despite the rest of South Dakota having Seasonal Termination Protection Regulations.[1]

CORRECTION: “Central Power Electric Cooperative, Inc” is the wholesale provider, not the retail provider that has been illegally disconnecting the meters on Crow Creek Reservation. The real culprits are at the “Central Electric Cooperative:” We apologize for any confusion caused by this error and our happy to oblige the request of Loren Noess - General Manager of CENTRAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE to post his information here for your convenience. See his e-mail request below.

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NoessLoren Noess - General Manager

Text of Mr. Noess’ e-mail with:

To Whom it may concern:

Please change the address of Central you have on your web site. Also if you do some research on this video it was played last June on Utube [sic] and we know they were at Crow Creek last March of 2008 doing taping This video we believe is a year old. Our employees are on this video. They are doing their and should not be explosed[sic].

Please refer to the attached letter that I emailed to Eric Klein yesterday and also sent by mail.

I have sent copies of this letter to all 3 Congressional Leaders in Washington and the South Dakota PUC. The 3 Offices in Washington indicated they haven’t received any calls from the Reservation about disconnects. As you’ll read in our letter we haven’t disconnected any[sic] for the months of Dec. Jan and Feb.

Any questions please give me a call.

Loren Noess

General Manager

PO Box 850

1420 North Main

Mitchell, SD 57301

605-996-7516

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Contact Information

Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm
E-mail: cec@centralec.coop
Phone: 605.996.7516
Toll Free in SD: 800.477.2892
Fax: 605.996.0869

Office Locations:

Headquarters Office:
PO Box 850
1420 North Main Street
Mitchell, SD 57301 USA

Plankinton Branch Office:
PO Box 130
102 South Main Street
Plankinton, SD 57301 USA

Putting LIVES on the Line:

This winter, the Crow Creek Indian Reservation is experiencing record-low temperatures reaching fifty below zero. Hundreds of families living in government housing have had their electric meters removed by Central Electric Cooperative, the local electric cooperative. When these power meters are pulled the residents are left without power; the propane heaters do not run; pipes freeze; and there is no water for cooking, drinking, bathing or flushing toilets. Many of these households have family members whose lives depend upon electronic medical equipment such as defibrillators.

Ironically these families are paying some of the highest electricity rates in the country even though they live adjacent to the Big Bend Hydro-Electric Dam on the Missouri river. These homes are poorly insulated causing electric bills in excess of $300.00 in the coldest months.

Median income in the region is approximately $5,000 a year (typical of the thirteen Lakotah (Sioux) Reservations in the “Great Sioux Nation” as defined in the Treaties of 1851 and 1868 with the US Government).

“I’ve been to disaster areas around the world including Sri Lanka after the tsunami, hurricane Katrina, and after the Iowa floods, but, I have never witnessed such blatant disregard for human life as I have here in my own country on the Crow Creek reservation,” stated Eric Klein, Founder and CEO of Compassion into Action Network – Direct Outcome Organization (CAN-DO). “Especially now, with the new administration focusing on the development of America’s infrastructure, we need to focus our energies and resources immediately to address this critical situation where such infrastructure is being blatantly misutilized.”

Appalled by the abuse and neglect, one US Marine and Crow Creek resident took action to publicize the exploitation. Using a hand-held video recorder, he documented local power companies physically cutting electricity lines and removing meters in the peak of winter.

Watch the footage at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=wIVgpMK5-Jo&feature=channel

Utilizing their proven approach to providing lasting solutions with full accountability, efficiency and results, CAN-DO is addressing the operation at the Crow Creek Indian Reservation on the local level to raise the nation’s awareness of the urgent human right abuses taking place in the South Dakota region.

“We are calling for a collaborative effort by ethical individuals, organizations, schools and political leaders to assure that this damage is reversed,” said Klein. “Together, we can contribute to real change here at home.”

View the complete Crow Creek plan at www.can-do.org. Join in the ‘Call to Action.’

LAWS OF SOUTH DAKOTA TITLE 49

PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS

49-34A-2. Service required of utilities. Every public utility shall furnish adequate, efficient, and reasonable service.

49-34A-6. Rates to be reasonable and just – Regulation by commission. Every rate made, demanded or received by any public utility shall be just and reasonable. Every unjust or unreasonable rate shall be prohibited. The Public Utilities Commission is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to regulate all rates, fees and charges for the public utility service of all public utilities, including penalty for late payments, to the end that the public shall pay only just and reasonable rates for service rendered.

Source: SL 1975, ch 283, § 16.

THE LIE PROPAGATED BY THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe:

“Every night, the sun slips quietly away behind the bluffs of the Missouri River. These bluffs flank the western edge of the Crow Creek Reservation in central South Dakota. Located one mile south of tribal headquarters at Fort Thompson is Lake Sharpe, one of South Dakota’s Great Lakes. Water recreation abounds on the 80-mile reservoir created by the Big Bend Dam. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing and swimming as well as picnicking and camping along the water’s edge. The tribe’s wildlife department offers guided fishing and hunting trips. It also maintains a buffalo herd that often grazes north of Fort Thompson. ” http://www.travelsd.com/ourhistory/sioux/tribes/crowcreek.asp

THE TRUTH

… thousands of hectares of Indian land have been lost to dams. In North Dakota, a quarter of the Fort Berthold Reservation, shared by the Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa peoples of the upper Missouri, for example, was flooded as a result of a staircase of dams (the Missouri River Development Project (MRDP), built during the 1950s and 1960s. The land lost included the best and most valuable and productive land on the reservation – the bottom lands along the river where most people lived.105 Five different Sioux reservations also lost land. Again, the impact was quite severe: the dams destroyed nearly 90 per cent of the tribes’ timberland, 75 per cent of the wild game, and the best agricultural lands.106

Ultimately, the Missouri dams cost the indigenous nations of the Missouri Valley an estimated 142,000 hectares of their best land – including a number of burial and other sacred sites – as well as further impoverishment and severe cultural and emotional trauma. A guarantee, used to rationalise the plan in the first place, that some 87,000 hectares of Indian land would be irrigated was simply scrapped as the project neared completion. As researcher Bernard Shanks puts it: “MRDP replaced the subsistence economy of the Missouri River Indians . . . with a welfare economy . . . As a result of the project, the Indians bore a disproportionate share of the social
cost of water development, while having no share in the benefits.”.107

104 Pittja 1994:54.
105 Guerrero 1992.
106 United States v David Sohappy, Snr et al., 477 US 906 (1986), cert. denied. Cited in Guerrero 1992.
107 Guerrero 1992.

About CAN-DO:

Founded by Eric Klein, CAN-DO has set a new standard for humanitarianism and is changing the face of philanthropy. It quickly has become an organization people can trust and depend upon to “get it done” fast and effectively. It is a 501c3, relief organization dedicated to working on the local level to provide lasting solutions, with full accountability, efficiency, and results.
Video footage, photographs and the web site offer documentation of the organization’s efforts at every phase. CAN-DO supporters take pride in watching their generosity directly affect the lives of those in need through the organization’s VirtualVolunteer.TV.

CAN-DO’s successful missions to bring immediate and direct relief to areas in need have captured the attention of renowned philanthropists including Oprah Winfrey and former president Bill Clinton. The organization was recently awarded the Global Compassion Award at the United Nations for its global impact, unparalleled transparency and accountability. For further information, please visit www.can-do.org or email Eric Klein at ek@can-do.org.

About the Republic of Lakotah:

We are the freedom loving Lakotah from the Sioux Indian reservations of Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana who have suffered from cultural and physical genocide in the colonial apartheid system we have been forced to live under.

We are continuing the work that we were asked to do by the traditional chiefs and treaty councils at the first Indian Treaty Council meeting at Standing Rock Sioux Indian Country in 1974.

During the week of December 17-19, 2007, we traveled to Washington DC and withdrew from the constitutionally mandated treaties to become a free and independent country. We are alerting the Family of Nations we have now reassumed our freedom and independence with the backing of Natural, International, and United States law.

We do not represent those BIA or IRA governments beholden to the colonial apartheid system, or those “hang around the fort” Indians who are unwilling to claim their freedom.

For further information, please visit www.republicoflakotah.com or call 605-867-1111.

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