September 8, 2017
I have reviewed both your and Katie Clower’s responses to my e-mail regarding the Consensus Agreement with GLIFIC and the Bands from March & April 2017. Since you have declined to have a public meeting to discuss this situation, I will respond to both of the e-mails at one time.
In Katie’s e-mail, she included a copy of a document, which she states was the final agreement. This document does not contain the opening paragraph, which restricted disclosure to the public. Upon reviewing that document (copies of both documents attached), I have several questions. First, if you place page 4 of that document alongside page 4 of the original restricted document, the signatures and dates when they were signed look strikingly similar, and in fact, they look identical to the naked eye. I do not think if you gave me one hundred tries to sign my name twice, any two of my signatures would look that similar. Also, why if both documents were available on March 31, 2017 when they were signed by Don Pereira, was the draft agreement signed along with the supposed final agreement? In the same way, why would the other three parties who signed the agreement seven to twelve days later sign the draft? It would seem reasonable that all of the parties would only sign the final agreement.
Both you and Katie make a point that the lack of disclosure to MLFAC and the public was an oversight and it was not intentionally withheld. I find it surprising that in all of the discussions since March 31, 2017 about harvestable surplus, regulations, closures, conservation caps, etc., no mention of this agreement was ever made and no attempt was made to give anyone a copy of it.
You both also state that the substance of the agreement was discussed with MLFAC members last spring. I certainly agree that we discussed the 2016 overage and its payback, as well as, 2017 safe harvest limits and allocation. There were several elements of the agreement which were never disclosed to us, most notably the fact that the Bands would receive 50% of any harvestable surplus over 64,000 pounds in 2018-2020. It was also never disclosed to us that you had agreed upon parameters for calculating harvestable surplus levels for 2018-2020 based on 2017 spawning stock biomass levels, nor that you had agreed to be locked in to the latest hooking mortality study, which we have many problems with, as outlined in our latest recommendations to you.
In your e-mail, you also outline the problems created by the State’s overage in 2016. It was not allowed by your agreement with the Bands. My question then would be; was the Governor made aware of the potential consequences of his decision by either the DNR or the Attorney General’s office prior to its announcement? It would seem that this information would be critical to his decision. If he were aware of the consequences, why would he proceed? If not, why was he not given this information? It had some very negative consequences for the citizens of Minnesota.
I have also listened for years to you and other DNR employees say we have no chance if the State went back to court. We cannot win so we should give the Bands whatever they want. I am curious what basis you have for this conclusion. To the best of my knowledge, neither you nor Governor Dayton are attorneys so I assume this conclusion comes from Attorney General Swanson. Have any independent parties ever reviewed these conclusions? There are several national law firms who deal with Native American treaties and rights on a daily basis and are current with the latest court decisions. Would the citizens of Minnesota benefit from having one of these law firms review the State’s legal position and options?
In conclusion, there remain many questions about this entire situation, and I still believe an open meeting for MLFAC members and other interested parties would be beneficial.
Agate Bay Resort