Tule Lake Committee files suit to stop fencing airport



TULELAKE, Calif. — The Tule Lake Committee on July 28 filed suit in Modoc County Superior Court to stop Modoc County and the city of Tulelake “from consideration of leasing and fencing the Tulelake Airport until conducting a public environmental review process. State law requires study and mitigation of impacts to the historic property on which the airport sits, including consideration of alternatives to the proposed fence,” a statement issued by the committee said.

The airport “occupies the middle of the Tule Lake concentration camp site” where more than 18,000 Nikkei were imprisoned during World War II, the statement said. Tule Lake inmates were labeled as “disloyal” for their responses to the infamous so-called “loyalty questionnaire.” 

The committee circulated an online petition to stop the fence construction, obtaining more than 25,000 signatures and comments opposing the fence. 

“Despite our objections, the County is moving ahead on plans to build an 8-foot high, 3-mile long fence on the site of the former Tule Lake concentration camp,” said Hiroshi Shimizu, the committee chair. “This massive fence would desecrate a unique civil rights historic site and close off access to descendants and anybody wishing to remember Tule Lake.”

Modoc County and the city of Tulelake, “in agreeing to extend the county’s lease of the Tulelake Airport for 30 years, failed to conduct environmental review required by the California Environmental Quality Act … , noted Susan Brandt-Hawley, an expert in California historic preservation law and attorney for the Tule Lake Committee,” the statement said.

“The fence is an integral part of the lease extension and airport operation,” Brandt-Hawley wrote in the committee’s petition to the court. 

“This long-term lease extension … may result in significant impacts to historic resources of national importance and to immediate surroundings such that the significance of such resources would be materially impaired,” Brandt-Hawley said.

“The lawsuit asks the court to order the county and city to set aside the 30-year lease extension for the Tulelake Airport land and to refrain from any physical construction while the case is pending,” the statement said.

For more information, visit www.Change.org/tulelake or view background documents at www.facebook.com/StopTheFence.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

See the 2024 CAAMFest