News Stories for Tue., Jul. 25, 2017

A wildfire estimated at 65 acres has closed four popular hiking trails in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness area.  The fire was reported Sunday evening in the Whitewater Creek area east of Detroit. Incident teams are attacking the fire with two crews on the ground and two helicopters dropping water. The fire is located west of popular backpacking destination Jefferson Park and near the Whitewater Trailhead. Officials are investigating the cause of the fire. The fire is entirely within the wilderness area and does not threaten communities or roads at present, officials said.

A jail in The Dalles has been sued by four people who contend the facility is violating its state law by holding immigrants who are awaiting status hearings or deportation. The four assert in a lawsuit filed Friday in northern Wasco County that they have paid and continue to pay property taxes used to build and operate the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility. They alleged the jail is breaking a unique Oregon law prohibiting state and local authorities from helping federal authorities enforce immigration laws. Oregon created America’s first sanctuary state in 1987. In February, Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order that said all state agencies must follow the 1987 statute. In addition to the jail, the suit names Wasco County. Its attorney, Kristen Campbell, said the county and the jail have complied with Oregon law.

Native women suffer from the second-highest homicide rate in the United States, according to the first report of its kind. Between 2003 and 2014, 240 American Indian and Alaska Native women were victims of homicide in 18 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate was surpassed by just one other racial or ethnic group, the CDC said on Friday. But just barely. “Non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native women experienced the highest rates of homicide, the report stated. The report also showed that most Native victims of homicide are young, between the ages of 18 and 29. And it confirmed what tribal advocates have been telling Congress for years before they secured passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. Nearly half of Native victims were murdered by an intimate partner, the CDC said. The report is the first with specific data however just 18 states provided the information needed to show how many Native women were murdered within their borders. The CDC’s report comes as Native women return to Capitol Hill to address another pressing issue. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is taking testimony this week on human trafficking reports, a situation it says where data been deemed inadequate as well.

In a victory for a handful of energy-producing tribes, the Trump administration is planning to rescind a rule that established hydraulic fracturing standards in Indian Country. A notice sent to the Federal Register announces the proposed withdrawal of the controversial 2015 fracking regulation. Some Tribes complained it was imposed without their consent and a federal judge eventually ruled that the Bureau of Land Management lacked the authority to subject Indian lands to the standards. As the document states, a number of tribes already follow their own oil and gas fracking standards. The withdrawal of the rule will not affect other tribes whose governments have banned fracking on their lands.