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YTT Northern Chumash ask Governor Newsom to support reclaiming Diablo Canyon land from PG&E

Diablo Canyon Pecho Coast
Flickr / shacker
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Diablo Canyon sits on the Pecho Coast

The California legislature is considering whether to try to extend the operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant by another 5 to 10 years. The yak tityu tityu yak tilhini (YTT) Northern Chumash Tribe say they want the governor's support in reclaiming the land where the plant sits from its current owner, PG&E.

Thousands of years ago in the San Luis Obispo region, before European diseases, the construction of the Spanish mission, Mexican conquests, and American colonization, the yak tityu tityu yak tilhini Northern Chumash Tribe lived on the Pecho Coast.

Mona Olivas Tucker is the Tribal Chair who sent a letter to Governor Newsom asking him to return the land to the tribe. She said they have wanted their land returned since the 1700s.

“This property was taken from us. It was stolen from us without compensation, without agreement, without any kind of consideration,” Tucker said.

Tucker said over time, this land fell into the hands of other people and is now owned by PG&E. She said right now is a critical time for the governor to assist in returning their land.

diablo_canyon_nuclear_power_plant_kcbx.jpg
Randol White/KCBX
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“The majority of the 12,000 acres is pristine homeland and what we would like to see is appropriate conservation, preservation, managed public access,” Tucker said. She said when Diablo Canyon is decommissioned, they do not want to see the land developed for commercial use.

“What we don't want to see is large development, housing, housing development or resort development. Really that kind of development,” Tucker said. She said this is land they have never lost their connection to, but that they have been denied access to for roughly 250 years.

“While we know that there are extensive cultural resources on the property, we don't know everything. We haven't been able to go there,” Tucker said.

She said this request supports the governor's executive order from October 2020 that promises to protect 30 percent of state land and coastal water by 2030 to fight the catastrophic effects of climate change. Now, they are looking for reclaiming their land, and to make sure the governor knows of their existence.

“We're here in California with a lot of tribes and we wanted him to know that there is a tribe indigenous to the Pecho Coast,” Tucker said.

Right now, the state legislature is considering extending the operation of Diablo Canyon by up to 10 years. Supporters of the plant say keeping the plant running would be a huge investment in renewable energy.

The tribe has no official stance on whether or not they support nuclear energy, and Tucker said they want their land back whether or not Diablo Canyon is decommissioned.

Corrected: August 21, 2022 at 1:46 PM PDT
This article has been updated to clarify that the tribe is asking for the land back whether or not Diablo Canyon is decommissioned, and is not expressing a stance on nuclear energy or the current legislative debate over decommissioning.
Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.