Desert Rock supporters hold prayer gathering
By Andy Bessler, Navajo Hopi Observer, NOVEMBER
BURNHAM, N.M.-There are many tools required
to stop a massive coal-fired power plant such as
effective lobbying, strong legal arguments and solid
used as they called upon higher powers
to inspire the struggle to stop the proposed 1,500
mega watt coal-fired Desert Rock Power Plant....
manager cites guidelines for protests By Marley Shebala, Navajo
Times, DECEMBER 20, 2007 WINDOW ROCK
– A day after Clayson Benally returned from
a “Save the Peaks” rally outside a federal courtroom
in Pasadena, Calif., he said the general manager
of the Arizona Snowbowl tried to stop him from
praying on the mountain.
On Dec. 11, the 9th Circuit Court
of Appeals heard legal arguments over plans
by the Snowbowl ski area to use reclaimed sewage
effluent to make artificial snow, which the
Navajo Nation and a dozen other tribes believe
would violate their religious freedom as guaranteed
under federal law.
Outside the court room, Benally
and about 250 other people demonstrated with
signs and banners.
replies to Reid By Jim Maniaci, Mohave
Daily News, DECEMBER 20, 2007 LAUGHLIN -
Southern California Edison has issued its replies
to the latest attack by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.,
against restarting the mothballed coal-fired
electric generating station in the middle of
In a Dec. 17 letter to SCE President
John R. Fielder, Reid reminded him of his Dec.
14, 2005, letter in which he wrote “... the
approximately $40 million in proceeds from the
sale of MGS's 50,000 tons of sulfur dioxide
allowances should be invested in renewable electricity
generation at the site, and possibly other nearby
In his 2007 letter, the U.S. Senate
Majority Leader also encouraged the Los Angeles
area private utility “to cooperate with the
Navajo and Hopi Tribes, local government, other
stakeholders, and potential retailers or purchasers
of clean power from MGS to turn the plant's
closure into a win-win-win situation for all
parties. MGS's transmission assets, the intense
solar resource, and the human capital of the
surrounding communities are extremely valuable
and should not be left untapped.”
smoke to heal US war veterans By Robert Hodierne, BBC
Reporter, Crossing Continents DECEMBER 20, 2007 Albert Laughter,
a fifth generation Navajo medicine man, sits
on the ground inside a towering white tepee.
A small fire of cedar logs burns
in the centre of the floor, its aromatic smoke
curling through the opening at the peak of the
tepee, 20 feet overhead.
On a buckskin on the ground in front
of him, the medicine man has arranged eagle
feathers, two soft leather pouches filled with
corn pollen and cedar needles, a pipe, some
sacred tobacco and a wooden flute....
EPA: Feds reluctant to move on uranium cleanup By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times,
DECEMBER 13, 2007 CHINLE — A meeting
of federal agencies involved in the cleanup of radioactive
sites on the Navajo Nation was "a good start,"
but not the definitive call for legislation the
Navajo delegation was hoping for.
That's according to Navajo Environmental
Protection Agency executive director Stephen Etsitty,
who attended the Dec. 5 meeting in Washington, D.C.,
along with Attorney General Louis Denetsosie.
The meeting was a follow-up held by
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., after he called federal
agencies on the carpet during an Oct. 23 hearing
on the legacy of the Cold War uranium boom before
the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental
Crowd supports 13 tribes in San Francisco Peaks
By Karen Francis, Diné Bureaur, Gallup Independent,
DECEMBER 12, 2007 PASADENA, Calif.
— Tribal members and other concerned citizens came
out in force to Pasadena yesterday for the rehearing
of the Navajo Nation vs. U.S. Forest Services case.
The case centers on the use of artificial
snow made with recycled sewage water on the San
Francisco Peaks, which are sacred to some 13 tribes
The tribes and several environmental
groups filed suit after the U.S. Forest Services
approved the use of treated waste water to make
artificial snow on the mountain by the Arizona Snowbowl,
a ski resort....
no toxic cleanup plan for Navajos The EPA plans to resume long-stalled testing
for uranium mine hazards, but a coordinated federal
strategy is still lacking, lawmakers told.
By Judy Pasternak, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer,
DECEMBER 7, 2007 WASHINGTON — The
Environmental Protection Agency plans to resume
long-stalled testing for toxics on the Navajo reservation
unleashed by abandoned Cold War uranium mines, but
it and four other federal agencies have yet to come
up with overall cleanup and health plans, their
representatives told seven House members in a closed
meeting this week.
The EPA, the Department of Energy, the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Bureau of Indian
Affairs and the Indian Health Service were summoned
to meet with five Democrats and two Republicans
on Wednesday. The meeting was a follow-up to an
October hearing of the House Committee on Oversight
and Government Reform on the long-standing failure
to protect the tribe from toxics and radiation.
Most of the 1,000 mine entrances at
520 sites have been sealed off, but groundwater
is contaminated, waste piles still cascade down
hillsides and erosion of dirt cover allows radiation
to resurface. The EPA has concluded that some of
the exposures on the reservation can lead to lung,
bone, liver and beast cancer....
asked to pray for Peaks
By Kathy Helms, Diné Bureau
Gallup Independent, DECEMBER 1, 2007
WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation President
Joe Shirley Jr. and Council Speaker Lawrence Morgan
are calling upon all tribes which hold the San Francisco
Peaks sacred to join in prayer Dec. 11, when the
issue of desecrating the peaks goes before the U.S.
Court of Appeals for review.
Morgan has called for a National and
International Day of Prayer at 3 p.m. Dec. 11.
In a landmark decision in March, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a January 2006 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt, stating that the use of recycled sewage water to make artificial snow at the Arizona Snowbowl, located on the San Francisco Peaks, violates the religious freedom of 13 Southwest tribes....
a cloud Navajo downwinders slow
to file for compensation By Cindy Yurth
Navajo Times, NOVEMBER 29, 2007
LECHEE, Ariz. -- From the Hualapai Reservation,
you could feel the earth shake and see the pink
mushroom cloud rising on the western horizon where
the government was testing atomic bombs.
By the time the cloud had drifted another
100 miles to the northwestern tip of the Navajo
Reservation, the pink dust and mist had settled
tribe hit hard by blazes
By David Kelly
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, NOVEMBER 22, 2007
LA JOLLA INDIAN RESERVATION -- The firestorms
that swept much of Southern California recently
were especially cruel to this hardscrabble reservation
clinging to the southern slopes of Mt. Palomar.
Residents described flames sweeping
over lush hills and valleys, burning 94% of the
reservation and destroying 59 of its 170 houses.
Thick forests of live oak that once shaded homes
and provided acorns for generations of Native Americans
are gone now, replaced by black scars of ash.
Unlike many neighboring tribes, the
La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians don't own
a casino. Many members rely on government aid to
survive and the chief source of revenue is a campground
along a three-mile stretch of the San Luis Rey River....
rips into feds Tells them they've
had 30 years to cleanup uranium waste and have done
By Kathy Helms, Gallup Independent,
OCTOBER 27, 2007
WINDOW ROCK — The House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee plans to “hold feet
to fire,” as Rep. Elijah Cummings succinctly put
it, to ensure the Navajo people do not have to wait
another 60 years to see something done about the
contamination across Navajoland from past uranium
mining and milling activities.
“I think the federal government has
a responsibility, but that’s not just you, it’s
us too,” Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., told representatives
of the U.S. Environmental Protection Authority,
Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs
at a hearing this week in Washington....
Shirley orders $1 million
study of Freeze needs By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times,
OCTOBER 25, 2007
CHINLE – President Joe Shirley Ur. Announced
last week the tribe will launch a $1 million study
of needs in the former Bennett Freeze area to prioritize
development and leverage more funding.
The announcement came as part of his
state of the nation address to the Navajo Nation
Council Oct. 15 in Window Rock....
A year after a compact lifted the Bennett Freeze, development creeps forward By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times,
OCTOBER 25, 2007
TUBA CITY - After living 70 or 80 years without electricity or running water, the elders of Old Airport Road weren't sure they wanted it.
"Nihil daa hóyéé'," they said. "We'll get lazy."
They made up Navajo names for the appliances their children brought to their newly electrified houses. The microwave, for instance, was "the handicap thing" - they couldn't imagine an able-bodied person wanting to use it....
Navajo gets commitment on
uranium contamination By Kathy Helms, Gallup Independent,
OCTOBER 25, 2007
WINDOW ROCK — Representatives of the
Navajo Nation received a bipartisan commitment Tuesday
from members of the House Committee on Oversight
and Government Reform to address “a modern American
tragedy” resulting from decades of uranium mining
activities foisted on an uninformed Navajo public
by the U.S. government.
In response to a request by Resources
Committee Chairman George Arthur that the committee
approach the issue from a “human concept,” rather
than political, Chairman Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.,
assured him that “both Democrats and Republicans
on this committee are very clear that we want to
work together, that we’re all outraged by what we’ve
The Navajo Nation panel was questioned
extensively by the committee before representatives
from several federal agencies involved in oversight
of the Nation and uranium cleanup activities were
put on the hot seat....
blasted for lack of cleanup By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times,
OCTOBER 25, 2007
Chinle - Members of the U.S. House Committee
on Oversight and Government Reform lambasted federal
officials Tuesday for the slow pace of uranium site
cleanup on the Navajo Nation, witnesses at a Washington,
D. C. committee hearing reported.
On second thought, he noted, "That's
an understatement. 'Tearing them limb from limb'
comes to mind."
Old uranium tailings leave land radioactive, people
sick By Thomas Burr, Salt Lake Tribune,
OCTOBER 24, 2007
WASHINGTON - The Navajo Nation representative
waved an instrument over the small pile of dirt.
Beep, beep, beep it went, in a radioactive crescendo.
The bit of soil - shipped from the Four
Corners region to the Capitol - underscored Stephen
Etsitty's point: This was only a minuscule sample
of the tailings left behind from decades of uranium
Much larger pieces, he said, can be
found in the homes of American Indians, in watering
holes for grazing animals, even pressed into a public
seek funds to clear uranium contamination Tribal officials ask Congress
for $500 million to deal with wastes left by mining
for bombs, nuclear power plants. By Judy Pasternak, Los Angeles
Times, OCTOBER 24, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Navajo tribal officials
asked Congress on Tuesday for at least $500 million
to finish cleaning up lingering contamination on
the Navajo reservation in the American Southwest
from Cold War-era uranium mining, an industry nurtured
by its only customer until 1971: the United States
The tribe also sought a moratorium
on new mining in Navajo country, which extends beyond
the formal reservation borders into New Mexico,
until environmental damage from the last round is
The requests came at a hearing of the
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
marked by angry exchanges between the members and
officials from five federal agencies with varying
degrees of responsibility for protecting Navajo
health and the environment....
Lawsuit against Peabody to resume By Marley Shebala, Navajo Times,
OCTOBER 18, 2007
TUBA CITY – Negotiations to settle the
Navajo Nation's 1999 lawsuit against Peabody Energy
Company, which involves $600 million in damages,
On Oct. 11, Navajo Nation Attorney General
Louis Denetsosie said negotiations with Peabody
are over and the nation is moving forward with its
lawsuit against Peabody....
rehearing? By Jason Begay, Navajo Times,
OCTOBER 18, 2007
WINDOW ROCK – In a move that had taken
tribal officials by surprise, the U.S. Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals reportedly agreed to reconsider
its decision regarding a controversial plan to expand
a ski area on the San Francisco Peaks.
According to news reports and the Flagstaff
attorney representing several entities including
the Navajo Nation in the case, the appeals court
agreed to hear the case Navajo Nation v. U.S. Forest
Service for a second time. A date is not yet set....
Freeze By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times,
OCTOBER 18, 2007
TUBA CITY - Max Goldtooth doesn't want
his land back. Most days.
Today he's looking out across Kerley
Valley from the backyard of his Navajo Housing Authority
rental, pointing out the 32,000 acres to which his
family had the grazing rights until last year.
He briefly contemplates taking a reporter
and photographer out to the land, to show them the
little springs and shady groves where he herded
sheep as a child. He doesn't think the Hopis who
graze their flocks there now would mind. Several
of them were his childhood friends....
manager slams Sierra Club By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times,
OCTOBER 11, 2007
FLAGSTAFF - Arizona Snowbowl General
Manager J.R. Murray released a written response
this week to the Sierra Club's listing of the San
Francisco Peaks as one of the country's most threatened
places, and criticized the club for opposing the
ski area's expansion plans.
“It is hypocritical for the Sierra
Club to oppose the ski area upgrade when they were
silent when the Hualapai Tribe built a skybridge
on the rim of the Grand Canyon,” Murray wrote in
“The Snowbowl proposal went through
a comprehensive (environmental impact statement)
process whereas the skybridge was just built because
it is on tribal land,” he stated....
President Shirley Navajo Times, OCTOBER 04, 2007
We understand the tremendous pressures
on you as the leader of the largest indigenous nation
in North America. Even in the best of times, issues
of poverty, health disparities, lack of infrastructure
and ecological contamination are immensely challenging.
In an era of shrinking federal budgets,
climate change and widespread environmental degradation,
you are in a very tough position indeed.
This letter is to state the obvious: Desert Rock will not solve your problems....
issues controversy continues in Leupp By SJ Wilson, Navajo Hopi Observer,
AUGUST 29, 2007
LEUPP-The Leupp Chapter House was once
again the scene of controversy over water issues
during the regular chapter meeting scheduled on
Aug. 17. Actions during and after the meeting spurred
C-Aquifer for Diné president Calvin Johnson
to draft a press release on Aug. 22. In this release,
Johnson charged Leupp Chapter officials of secretly
conspiring to form a Canyon Diablo water deal, misconduct
and ignoring Title II chapter governance laws in
approving chapter resolutions. Further, he objected
to being refused a copy of the resolution approving
a well in the Canyon Diablo area-a resolution that
had yet to be completed and signed by chapter officials.
The officials named were Chapter President
Thomas Cody, Vice President Lorraine Noline and
Secretary/Treasurer Rosita Kelly....
Chapter officials charged by C-Aquifer for Diné
with making 'secret' Canyon Diablo water deal Navajo Hopi Observe,r AUGUST
LEUPP-Grassroots community member Calvin
Johnson, president of C-Aquifer for Diné,
charges Leupp Chapter officials Thomas Cody, Lorraine
Noline and Rosita Kelly for misconduct and allowing
approval of Chapter resolutions contrary to the
Title II Chapter governance law.
The C-Aquifer for Diné have
been vocal for the past two years about not being
informed about the actions taken on the local water
plans, being left out of important meetings regarding
the water issues, and they have received no response
on their request for copies of minutes and resolutions
and other information pertaining to their issue....
to Black Mesa board:
Justify your existence By Kathy Helms, Diné
Bureau, Gallup Independent, AUGUST 21, 2007
WINDOW ROCK — Should the life of Black
Mesa Review Board be extended, or has it fulfilled
its legislative intent? In which case, could dwindling
Navajo Nation dollars that are appropriated to the
board be better spent elsewhere?
This was one of the issues the board
was asked to respond to during Monday’s Intergovernmental
Relations Committee meeting as IGR assesses future
governmental operations under the Office of the
spoof causes stir on Navajo Nation By Alysa Landry, Farmington
Daily Times, AUGUST 16, 2007
KAYENTA, Ariz. — A 10-minute film about
Navajo Nation politics posted on YouTube last week
has provoked controversy in the Kayenta Township.
"D.C. Navajo" portrays a
corrupt tribal official in the Washington, D.C.,
Navajo Nation Office. With his feet propped up on
his desk and a Rubik's cube in hand, the official
gives the runaround to a consultant, played by Kayenta
Township employee Jarvis Williams, who is trying
to get paid for services rendered to the office....
mining: Good or bad?
It’s an emotional issue, critics insist By Zsombor Peter, Gallup Independent,
AUGUST 13, 2007
GALLUP — The uranium industry and its
allies say a new licensing system the federal government
is working on will help wean the country off foreign
oil. Opponents of the proposal say it will only
heighten the health and environmental risks posed
by an industry already getting away with too much.
They weighed in during a public hearing
hosted by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC) at the Hilton Albuquerque Thursday evening....
In uranium country, life goes on despite contamination
fears By Zsombor Peter, Gallup Independent,
AUGUST 3, 2007
TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Its legs bound and
its fate sealed, the lone sheep lying on Shirley
Charley’s wood porch took quick, sharp breaths in
the early afternoon heat. Amid a network of anonymous
dirt roads a half-dozen miles north east of Tuba
City, only its occasional, noisy attempts at escape
disturbed the tranquil scene.
In a few hours, Charley and her extended
family would butcher the sheep to help fuel a long
night of cattle branding. They’ve herded their livestock
across this land for generations. And like the sheep
lying on Charley’s porch Saturday, they’ve watered
them at a well about a mile to the east for just
Corners plant rates at top in pollution category By Lisa Meerts, Farmington
Daily Times, JULY 30, 2007
No power plant in the country emits
more total nitrogen oxides than the Four Corners
Power Plant, according to a new report compiled
from government data called "Dirty Kilowatts."
It and the San Juan Generating Station
both made lists of the 50 dirtiest power plants
in the U.S. for three pollutants. Neither power
plant, however, were among the dirtiest for sulfur
dioxide, a haze-causing pollutant. And taken on
a per megawatt basis, both fell off lists for carbon
dioxide and mercury....
Mexico Governor Opposes Coal Power Plant on Navajo
Land Environmental News Service,
JULY 27, 2007
SANTA FE, New Mexico (ENS) - New Mexico
Governor Bill Richardson today expressed his opposition
to a new $2 billion, 1,500 megawatt coal-fired power
plant proposed for Navajo Nation lands in northwestern
New Mexico near the Four Corners area.
"I am gravely concerned about
the potential environmental impacts of the proposed
Desert Rock Energy Facility," said the governor,
who is a candidate for the Democratic presidential
nomination. "Each new conventional coal plant
built without significant carbon dioxide controls
is a step backwards and does not move us towards
a future of more safe and efficient energy use,"
The Energy Challenge Navajos
and Environmentalists Split on Power Plant Felicity Barringer, New
York Times, JULY 27, 2007
BURNHAM, N.M. — For the Navajo nation,
energy is the most valuable currency. The tribal
lands are rich with uranium, natural gas, wind,
sun and, most of all, coal.
But two coal-fired power plants
here, including one on the reservation, belch
noxious fumes, making the air among the worst
in the state. Now the tribe is moving forward
with plans for a bigger plant, Desert Rock,
that Navajo authorities hope will bring in $50
million a year in taxes, royalties and other
income by selling power to Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The plan has stirred opposition
from some Navajos who regard the $3 billion
proposal as a lethal “energy monster” that desecrates
Father Sky and Mother Earth and from environmental
groups that fear global warming implications
from its carbon dioxide emissions....
Rock critics flood final hearing Jason Begay, Navajo Times JULY
WINDOW ROCK - Even before the first speaker
addressed the crowd in the Navajo Nation Museum auditorium
Wednesday, it was clearly evident which way the day
During the final of 10 public hearings
on the Desert Rock Energy Project draft environmental
impact statement, opponents and protestors set up
booths and a music tent outside with hand-painted
signs challenging the project....
energy drive touted Kathy Helms, Diné
Bureau, Gallup Independent, JULY 20, 2007
WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation President
Joe Shirley Jr. proposed a new energy initiative
this week at an Energy Development on Tribal
Lands conference at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol
Hill in Washington.
Shirley opened the conference,
speaking before a group of energy experts, tribal
leaders, government officials, attorneys, nonprofit
groups, and financiers. The president said he
is proposing a Native American Energy initiative
to foster more development on tribal lands....
lobbies for billions in energy funds Alysa Landry, Farmington
Daily Times, JULY 20, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The future of
the United States' domestic energy production
lies on tribal lands, Navajo Nation President
Joe Shirley Jr. told an audience of energy experts,
tribal leaders, government officials and attorneys
The leader of the largest native
nation called for a minimum of $5 billion from
the federal government to fund an energy initiative
that would help tribes tap into natural resources.
"The Navajo Nation, like most native
nations, has tremendous reserves of fossil and
renewable resources," Shirley said Tuesday in
his address at the two-day Tribal Energy Conference
held in Washington, D.C. "A federal government
seeking to reduce its dependence on foreign
energy sources should be doing far more to provide
loans, grants, and other incentives to encourage
investment in Native American energy resources."
weighs Desert Rock John R. Crane, Cortez Journal,
JULY 19, 2007
The public-comment meeting on the
Desert Rock Energy Project's draft environmental
impact statement began at 10 a.m. Wednesday,
and by 12:30 p.m. at least 20 Four Corners residents
spoke passionately against the proposal.
David Nez, a Navajo who lives about
10 miles from the proposed Desert Rock site
on Navajo Nation land, said pollution from the
nearby Four Corners Power Plant and San Juan
Generating Station makes him cough and causes
his eyes to burn....
Rock hearing draws more than 200 Andi Murphy, Farmington
Daily Times, JULY 19, 2007
FARMINGTON — More than 200 people
turned out for the Desert Rock Power Plant draft
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) public
hearing Tuesday evening at the Farmington Civic
Center to voice their comments and questions
about the proposal.
Desert Rock is a proposed 1,500-megawatt,
coal-fired power plant that would be located
about 30 miles south of Farmington in Burnham.
The draft EIS explains how the Bureau of Indian
Affairs expects the proposed plant would affect
people and the surrounding land. The plant,
to be located on the Navajo Nation, would cost
about $3 billion to build and would employ hundreds....
blast Desert Rock Chuck Slothower, Durango
Herald, JULY 19, 2007
The Bureau of Indian Affairs got
an earful from Durango residents Wednesday as
one person after another streamed to the microphone
to speak out against the proposed Desert Rock
The federal agency hosted a public
hearing to gather comments about the power plant.
It followed on the May release of a draft Environmental
Impact Statement, a key step toward construction.
The EIS said the power plant would
have several environmental impacts on the surrounding
area in northern New Mexico, but nothing significant
enough to stop the project....
look at mining's impact Zsombor Peter, Gallup Independent,
JULY 16, 2007
CHURCH ROCK — The dozen state senators
and representatives clustered together in Teddy
Nez's patchy yard last week knew they were standing
on dangerous ground.
The delegation from the New Mexico
Indian Affairs Committee, came for a first-hand
look at how Navajos were living with the fallout
from decades of uranium mining. But when their
guides pointed out that the very dirt beneath
their feet was still radiating high levels of
radium, a few laughed nervously. Others shuffled
inconspicuously onto safer soil....
hot to handle? By Zsombor Peter, Gallup
Independent, JULY 16, 2007
CHURCH ROCK — From 1967 to 1982,
the United Nuclear Corporation mined several
million tons of uranium ore out of this 125-acre
site where New Mexico Highway 566 dead-ends
15 miles north of Church Rock.
Back then, the jobs were plentiful
and the pay was good, especially for a young
Navajo just out of high school. Larry King,
who grew up and still lives just miles south
of the old mine, started out as an underground
surveyor for UNC in 1975 at $9 an hour, chasing
uranium drifts as they snaked through the rock
1,600 feet below the surface....
fight to shake off lethal nuclear legacy By Peter Huck, The New
Zealand Herald, JULY 16, 2007
Like many calamities faced by the
Navajo since they were defeated by United States
troops in the 1860s, the trial visited upon
America's largest native American tribe - whose
300,000 members occupy a vast reservation of
deserts, mesas, mountains and canyons that straddle
Arizona, Utah and New Mexico - originated with
a decision made far away in Washington.
In 2003, the Bush Administration
approved a controversial project to expand its
nuclear arsenal with "low-yield" mini-nukes.
At the same time the nuclear energy industry,
exploiting the demand for clean energy as a
means of reducing the nation's carbon footprint
[although CO2 is produced when uranium is processed
into fuel], hopes to build new reactors. The
result has been a uranium boom....
Coal-Fired Plant Called a Cleaner Energy Source,
but Critics Disagree By Leslie Linthicum, ABQJournal,
A handful of people, mostly Navajo
women, have sat vigil on a dusty expanse of
reservation land for months, hoping their presence
will help to block the construction of a proposed
$3 billion power plant that would keep the lights
on in a million or more homes in Phoenix and
Las Vegas, Nev.
Meanwhile, the bureaucratic process
leading to the plant's approval inches forward.
The latest step— a public comment period on
an environmental impact statement favorable
to the Desert Rock Power Plant— begins this
The protesters' message is simple:
Navajos have already sacrificed their air, their
land and their health for the nation's electricity—
two big coal-fired power plants already operate
in San Juan County and the deadly legacy of
uranium mining lingers....
ride for renewable energy begins today By Kathy Helms, Diné
Bureau, Gallup Independent, JULY 13, 2007
BURNHAM — In 2005, Delegate Leonard
Chee and his band of elders protesting the use
of C-aquifer water the Black Mesa Project, along
with protesters from Black Mesa, and did not
receive the warmest of welcomes when they joined
with other delegates on the annual Navajo Nation
Council horse ride.
As a matter of fact, Chee and protesters
from Leupp and Black Mesa, including grandmas
who walked the entire way in temperatures well
over 100 degrees, eventually branched off from
the other riders they met in the vicinity of
Dilkon, so as not to mix political agendas.
Eventually, however, all riders
converged on Defiance Plateau, giving the appearance
of one big happy family as they rode the final
downhill stretch into Window Rock....
La Plata County oppose proposed Desert Rock
plant By Lisa Meerts, The Daily
Times, JULY 12, 2007
DURANGO, Colo. — When La Plata County
Commissioner Kellie Hotter learned coal-fired
power plants generate the electricity supplied
to the area, she said she could not support
a resolution opposing one in northwest New Mexico.
"I care about the ramifications
to the citizens, but how dare we be hypocritical
when we do the same thing to someone else,"
she said. "If we want to be good stewards,
we need to start at home first."
The La Plata County Commissioners
passed a resolution 4-0 on Tuesday that asked
the Bureau of Indian Affairs to choose the no-action
alternative on a draft Environmental Impact
Statement, which would prevent construction
of the proposed coal-fired Desert Rock Power
Plant. Hotter abstained from voting. The Durango
City Council also passed a similar resolution
4-0. Durango Mayor Doug Lyon also abstained
from voting because he said the resolution exceeded
the city's jurisdiction....
Shoshone leader dies at 87 By Keith Rodgers, Review
Journal, JULY 11, 2007
For decades, Corbin Harney was a
fixture at anti-nuclear rallies advocating for
peace and protection of "Mother Earth,"
especially his native land, Newe Sogobia, which
stretched across a wide swath of what became
On Tuesday, Harney, spiritual leader
of the Western Shoshones, died of complications
from cancer in a rural area of Santa Rosa, Calif.,
his family and friends said. He was 87.
"We have truly lost a lot,"
said his nephew, Santiago Lozada, who was at
his side when died....
Plant purchase still possible By Jim Maniaci, Mohave
Daily News, JULY 10, 2007
LAUGHLIN - Southern California Edison
is traveling simultaneous tracks which lead
in opposite directions concerning the future
of the idled Mohave Generating Station.
In May, SCE announced the end to
what a company press officer calls its “concerted”
effort to find a buyer to take over the effort
to restart the 36-year-old electricity producer.
On July 2, in her 29th required
monthly status report to the California Public
Utilities Commission, attorney Sumner J. Koch
wrote that since then, “SCE has received further
inquiries from parties interested in the possibility
of purchasing and restarting the plant.”
homes planned in Bennett Freeze By John Christian Hopkins,
Gallup Independent, JULY 10, 2007
WINDOW ROCK — The 1934 Reservation
Subcommittee, of the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission,
adopted a plan of operations and a work plan
The resolution now moves to the
full NHLC for ratification.
One aspect for the work plan was
to construct 50 homes in the Bennett Freeze
area, but Evelyn Acothley, vice chairman of
the subcommittee, thought it might be better
in the long run not to limit the number of homes....
next for MGS? By Jim Maniaci, Mohave
Daily News, JUNE 26, 2007
LAUGHLIN - The reaction of the Laughlin
Chamber of Commerce typifies what
local residents are facing with Southern California
announcement that it will no longer attempt
to restart the Mohave Generating Station as
an electric generator.
The chamber's executive director,
Janet Medina, indicated that at this point not
enough is known about the options to comment.
The Laughlin Town Manager's Office
said it interpreted Edison's announcement to
mean Edison is performing a feasibility study
for all possible uses of the site....
slowing coming to Freeze residents By Bill Donovan, Navajo
Times, JUNE 21, 2007
WINDOW ROCK - For more years than
she can count, Ruth Tohannie has been wanting
electricity in her come west of Tuba City.
For decades, this was impossible because
her home was within the Bennett Freeze area and no new
development was allowed there while the land dispute
between the Navajos and the Hopis remained unsettled.
When her lands were removed from the
Freeze Area several years ago by court order, she thought
it would only be a matter of time before she would get
electricity at last....
Red: Report finds lack of coverage By Cindy Yurth, Navajo
Times, JUNE 21, 2007
DENVER - The good news is, not many
negative stories about Native Americans appeared
in U.S. major daily newspapers last year.
The bad news
is, not many stories of any kind about Native
Americans appeared. And when they were written,
they hardly used Natives as sources.
Reading Red Report, sponsored by the Native
American Journalists Association, looked at
1,700 news stories in cities with high Native
populations (a notable no-show was the Arizona
Republic, which isn't on Lexus Nexus and was
difficult to cross-reference)....
burned by BIA no-show at Desert Rock hearing By Jason Begay, Navajo
Times, JUNE 21, 2007
WINDOW ROCK - Depending on whom
you ask, the delay of federally mandated public
hearings on Desert Rock Power Plant and its
draft environmental impact statement was either
a curse or blessing.
Desert Rock opponents - who said
they showed up to the first scheduled meeting
Monday to find it was canceled - say the cancellation
was another sneaky move from a shady project
that will corrupt Navajoland, its people and
the air above.
Ask Desert Rock backers, and they
say the postponement gives the public more time
to find and review copies of the lengthy document
and submit more informed comments....
demise leaves Black Mesa plan in limbo By Marley Shebala, Navajo
Times, JUNE 14, 2007
WINDOW ROCK - Tomorrow, June 15, will
mark one month since Southern California Edison threw
in the towel in its battle to revive the Mohave Generating
Station, sole customer for coal from the Navajo Nation's
Black Mesa Mine.
On May 18, California Edison attorney
Summer K. Koch informed the California Public Utilities
Commission that it would drop efforts to find a new
owner for the 26-year-old power plant, which closed
in December 2005.
The company last year announced it would
not attempt to restart the plant itself, primarily because
the cost to install pollution control equipment was
troubled history Navajo Times, JUNE 14,
Coal strip mining was controversial
on Black Mesa from the very beginning. When it was first
proposed during the MacDonald administration in the
70s, residents of the highly traditional area predicted
that it would divide the community.
Besides the obvious disruption of thousands
of acres of land, there was the question of water. Peabody
Western Coal Co. got permission from the tribe to use
millions of gallons annually from the Navajo Aquifer,
the area's main reserve of high-quality ground water.
Within a few years, local residents
and the Hopi Tribe began reporting that seeps and shallow
wells were drying up. Despite a long barrage of scientific
studies asserting that the pumping from the aquifer
was not drying up surface water sources, Navajo and
Hopi grassroots organizations were successful in organizing
communities to oppose Peabody's use of the Navajo Aquifer
for its operations, especially to slurry coal over 273
miles to the Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin,
decommissioning good news, greens say By Cindy Yurth, Navajo
Times, JUNE 14, 2007
CHINLE - Southern California Edison's
recent announcement that it will abandon efforts to
sell the Mohave Generating Station may be bad news for
Peabody Western Coal Co., but it's good news for local
environmentalists who are pushing a "Just Transition"
to clean power.
"One more nail in the coffin of
the dirtiest coal plant in the West," exulted Andy
Bessler, coordinator of the Sierra Club's Environmental
SCE's announcement was followed by the
U.S. Office of Surface Mining's decision to suspend
work on an environmental impact statement that had envisioned
the plant - and the Black Mesa Mine that supplied its
coal - would resume operation someday....
celebrates 24th annual Sacred Mountain Prayer
Run By S.J. Wilson, Navajo
Hopi Observer, JUNE 12, 2007
FLAGSTAFF-The 24th Annual Native
Americans for Community Action (NACA) Sacred
Mountain Prayer Run held June 2 was especially
poignant. It fell not long after the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals ruling against snowmaking and
the subsequent appeal filed by the U.S. Department
of Justice on behalf of the National Forest
The run is popular among both Native
and non-Native runners-and the sense of the
sacred is not lost on the former. Each year
the run begins with a prayer and blessing and
runners are signaled to begin by a single, clear
note from an eagle bone whistle. Sam Tso was
chosen for the honor of blessing the runners
and blowing the note this year....
water heads to Hopi By Zsombor Peter, Gallup
Independent, JUNE 8, 2007
WINDOW ROCK — On the rare occasion the Navajo Nation can convince someone else to clean up an old uranium mill or mine, it's usually the federal government that sues the former owner. But the old mill by Tuba City, Ariz., which the Navajo Nation has linked to a migrating plume of contaminated groundwater threatening both Navajo and Hopi water supplies, is different.
In a new twist on an old story, it's the former owner of the mill that's suing the government. The El Paso Natural Gas Company filed suit against the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington last month. It's accusing the department of shirking its responsibility for an unregulated dump and landfill that allegedly hold waste from the mill and may be leaking contaminants....
Invoke Gods to Block Wastewater Snowmaking By Nick Timiraos, Wall
Street Journal, JUNE 8, 2007
Faced with one of its worst ski
seasons in years amid an ongoing drought,
operators of the Arizona Snowbowl pitched a
plan five years ago to make
man-made snow by using treated wastewater from
the nearby city of
"In today's world, it is impossible to run a ski area depending on natural snowfall," says Eric Borowsky, general partner of the Snowbowl resort.
But in March, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals killed the scheme. The reason: The mountaintops are sacred to the Navajo
and 12 other tribes, even though the land is not part of their reservations....
MAY 18, 2007
Suspension of work on the Black Mesa
Project Environmental Impact Statement
U.S. Department of Justice files for rehearing of SF Peaks case Navajo Hopi Observer, JUNE
FLAGSTAFF-On Wednesday, May 30 the
U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Forest
Service filed for a rehearing and appeal "en
banc" (by the full court) in the case to
protect the sacred San Francisco Peaks in northern
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals previously
ruled in favor of Native American tribes and environmental
groups on the grounds that a proposed ski area
development and expansion would violate the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)....
it both ways Suzanne Adams, Kingman Miner,
JUNE 1, 2007
LAUGHLIN - Despite its closure, Mohave
Generating Station may still be generating electricity
for the tri-state area in a different way.
The Flagstaff office of the Sierra
Club, the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Grand Canyon
Trust, Black Mesa Trust, Black Mesa Water Coalition,
Indigenous Environmental Network and To' Nizhoni
Ani have created the Coalition on a Just Transition
Plan. The coalition is negotiating with Southern
California Edison and the California Public Utilities
Commission to get just compensation to the Navajo
Nation and Hopi Tribe for environmental damage
to their lands and economic damage to the communities
due to the shutdown of the power plant....
point out higher health risks with Desert Rock Jason Begay, Navajo Times,
MAY 31, 2007
WINDOW ROCK- Despite the promise that
the proposed Desert Rock power plant will be the
cleanest facility of its kind, opponents remain
deeply concerned that any further pollution in
the region will have increased adverse environmental
and health risks.
The plant as proposed, a massive $2.2
billion project located about 20 miles south of
Shiprock, would generate 1,500 megawatts of power.
Backers say the plant will use state
of the art technology to become the cleanest of
its kind worldwide....
pulled on power plant Efforts to restart Mohave
Generating Station halted, report says Suzanne Adams, Kingman Miner,
MAY 31, 2007
LAUGHLIN - The end of days may be
coming soon for the Mohave Generating Station.
Major shareholder Southern California
Edison has decided to discontinue efforts to restart
or sell the plant, according to a monthly status
report sent to the California Public Utilities
Commission dated May 22.
Estimates put the cost of restarting
the plant around $1 billion. That cost would have
included restarting the Black Mesa coal mine,
repairs to a coal slurry line that fed the plant
and pollution controls for the plant....
President Bush or King George? By Al Swilling, SENAA International,
MAY 26, 2007
A Warning to the American People and all triball
governments of dubious and unconstitutional
actions by and dangerous ambitions of the man
now holding the office and title of President
Peabody hiding their true intentions for coal
mining from Navajo and Hopi tribes? Navajo Hopi Observer, MAY
It is becoming evident that the C-aquifer
Project was just a smokescreen to expedite the
approval of Peabody's plan for the Black Mesa
and Kayenta Mines.
The proponents of the C-aquifer Project
assured us that the C-aquifer would replace N-aquifer
as the primary source of water for the Black Mesa
coal slurry operation, which transported coal
from Black Mesa Mine to the Mohave Generating
Station in Laughlin, Nev. That was a smokescreen.
No one really expected the C-aquifer project to
be built in time to restart the coal slurry in
of the yellow iceberg By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times,
MAY 24, 2007
CHURCH ROCK, N.M. – No one is pretending
that removing 5,300 cubic yards of radioactive
soil from five home sites near Red Water Pond
is going to make the area a safe place to live.
But it’s a start, and the anti-nuke
forces in these parts celebrate small victories,
because, so far, that’s all they’ve got.
“It’s a good thing in that it’s the
first major public environmental and health-oriented
cleanup of a uranium mining site,” said Chris
Shuey of the Southwest Research and Information
Center, which helped local families document contamination
from two nearby uranium mines using samples of
the air, water, and soil....
Mesa coal mine set to reopen By Cyndy Cole, Arizona Daily
Sun, MAY 24, 2007
Each of the owners of a Laughlin,
Nev., power plant once supplied by Black Mesa
Mine have now concluded that returning the power
plant to operation is not worth the more than
$1 billion in related costs.
This ends attempts to sell the power
plant to another operator or extend a new water
pipeline to send water from Flagstaff's aquifer
to the mine, opponents say.
And it will likely lead the Navajo and Hopi tribes
that own the land to seek out, in cooperation
with Peabody Western Coal Co., other coal customers,
Hopi tribe attorney Scott Canty said.
Building a power plant near the site,
coal gassification facilities or rail lines leading
to other coal users have been considered, he said....
Station won't be revived By JIM MANIACI/News West,
Mohave Daily News, MAY 23, 2007
LAUGHLIN - Southern California Edison
is giving up its effort to resuscitate the Mohave
Generating Station after trying for almost two
years to revive the 1970s era plant which provided
up to 1,500 megawatts of electricity to urban
In its 28th monthly report to the
California Public Utilities Commission on the
status of MGS, dated May 22, the Los Angeles-based
corporation said, “SCE has now decided to discontinue
its effort ... to sell Mohave to a new owner or
owners who would seek to restart the plant. SCE
is not aware of any plans or interest on the part
of the other Mohave co-owners to further purse
any efforts towards a Mohave restart.”
Written by company attorney Sumner
J. Koch, the report to CPUC Chair Sean Gallagher
continued, “Accordingly SCE and the other co-owners
are now winding down all activities that have
been aimed at preserving and facilitating the
possibility of a Mohave plant restart and are
focusing on the future reuse or other disposition
of the Mohave site.”
Mohave sale, restart dead By Kathy Helms, Diné
Bureau, Gallup Independent, MAY 23, 2007
WINDOW ROCK — Efforts to find a buyer
for Mohave Generating Station have failed, and co-owners
are now in the process of ceasing all activities aimed
at preserving and restarting the plant, Southern California
Edison announced Tuesday in its monthly report to the
California Public Utilities Commission.
"SCE is not aware of any intention
on the part of any of the other Mohave co-owners to
further pursue any effort toward a Mohave restart, and
accordingly SCE and the other co-owners are now turning
their full focus to the future reuse or other disposition
of the plant site," SCE said in the report issued
by Raquel Ippoliti, project analyst.
The 1,580-megawatt plant has been shut
down since December 2005, pursuant to a 1999 consent
decree which gave Mohave owners six years to install
necessary pollution control devices....
statement supports Desert Rock proposal By Lisa Meerts The Daily
Times, MAY 22, 2007
The Bureau of Indian Affairs made
available on Monday a draft
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) draft that
proposed coal-fired Desert Rock Power Plant project
The Desert Rock Energy Company — formed
of Houston-based developer
Sithe Global and the Diné Power Authority,
a Navajo Nation enterprise
— wants to build a 1,500-megawatt power plant
near Burnham on the
Navajo Nation. The company received a draft air
permit from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency last spring and
the EIS marks the
second of several steps needed to move forward
with the project, which
could begin as early as next year....
Company joins Navajo fight for uranium cleanup By Judy Pasternak, LA Times,
WASHINGTON - El Paso Natural Gas Co.
is lending support to a new Navajo effort to force
federal cleanup of one of the Cold War's last
major toxic legacies.
El Paso filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court against the Department of Energy and other federal agencies, seeking cleanup of debris from an old uranium processing mill that the company operated....
Leupp Chapter considers Just Transition S.J. Wilson, The Observer,
MAY 15, 2007
LEUPP- Leupp Chapter officials and
chapter members received a request for a resolution
supporting the Just Transition Coalition's proposal
that includes plans to bring economic development
and energy to the Navajo and Hopi reservations.
The coalition consists of the Indigenous
Environmental Network, Honor the Earth Foundation,
Apollo Alliance, Black Mesa Water Coalition, To'Nizhoni
Ani, Grand Canyon Trust and the Sierra Club.
Andy Bessler of the Sierra Club and
Enai Begaye of the Black Mesa Water Coalition
traveled to Leupp on May 5 to explain the details
of the proposal, which is based on what environmental
groups-both Native and non-Native-see as a fair
closure to a painful chapter of Navajo and Hopi
Hopis sue over pipeline meetings By Cyndy Cole, AZ Daily Sun,
MAY 4, 2007
A class-action lawsuit might soon
settle the question: Can federal agencies conduct
important business during ceremonial holidays
when traditional Hopis are bound to be absent?
Former Hopi chair candidate Valjean
Joshevama and religious practitioner Jerry Honawa
have brought suit against the Office of Surface
Mining, saying public hearings about a proposed
pipeline to support mining operations at Black
Mesa were ill-timed.
Public hearings on the proposed pipeline were held between November and February, a quiet time when traditional Hopis are prohibited from engaging in non-religious pursuits....
Peabody cited in fatal accident at Kayenta Mine By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times,
MAY 3, 2007
CHINLE - Faulty circuitry and short-cutting
safety procedures led to the Nov. 5 accident at Peabody
Western Coal Co.'s Kayenta Mine that cost a Rough Rock
man his life, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration
The final report appeared on MSHA's
Web site last week.
Peabody was issued a citation and five
orders in connection with the mishap, in which electrician
Howard Harvey Sr., 52, was electrocuted while working
on the cable to the dragline....
EPA releases Desert Rock public comments: No time line yet on final air permit for proposed power plant By Lisa Meerts, Farmington
Daily Times, MAY 4, 2007
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency has compiled and released about 1,000 comments
on the draft air permit for the proposed Desert
Rock Power Plant, which would be located in Burnham
on the Navajo Nation.
The majority of statements came from
area residents, agencies and businesses, including
the New Mexico Environment Department, BHP Billiton,
Dooda Desert Rock, the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain
Ute tribes and project owner Sithe Global. Many
municipalities in Colorado sent letters, among
them La Plata County and Cortez. Even the mayor
of Aspen added her input....
Rep. Salazar seeks Desert Rock hearings Mercury levels in reservoirs
cited as problem
Herald Staff Report, APRIL 26, 2007
U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa,
has asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to hold
public hearings in La Plata and Montezuma counties
when the environmental impact statement on the
proposed Desert Rock power plant is released.
The environmental study, expected
to be released by June, assesses the 1,500-megawatt,
coal-fired power plant - a partnership between
Sithe Global and the Navajo Nation's Diné
Power Authority. The plant is to be built in New
Mexico, about 30 miles southwest of Farmington.
County commissioners, Navajo activists
and many area residents are concerned about health
effects from possibly polluted water and air caused
by Desert Rock emissions....
Forecast murky for Black Mesa Project By Marley Shebala, Navajo
Times, APRIL 18, 2007
WINDOW ROCK - A study to expand strip
mining on Black Mesa may stall for lack of money.
Southern California Edison and the
Salt River Project, two major stakeholders in
the proposed Black Mesa Project, are playing ping-pong
over who's paying for an environmental impact
study needed before the expansion can take place.
The study required by federal law,
is being done under the auspices of the U.S. Office
of Surface Mining, but has been funded by the
A persistant cold Former mine worker warns
of 'the sickness' if uranium mining returns to
Navajoland By Marley Shebala, Navajo
Times, APRIL 12, 2007
MONUMENT VALLEY - To most people,
Monument Valley is a majestic and mysterious handiwork
of Mother Earth.
To the Diné, it was the home
of the giants.
For 85-year-old Seth Bigman and his
family, it was also their home....
drought predicted for Southwest By Alan Zarembo and Bettina
Boxall, Times Staff Writers, APRIL 6, 2007
The driest periods of the last century
"the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the droughts
of the 1950s" may become the norm in the
Southwest United States within decades because
of global warming, according to a study released
The research suggests that the transformation
may already be underway. Much of the region has
been in a severe drought since 2000, which the
study's analysis of computer climate models shows
as the beginning of a long dry period....
Dineh to Dirty Power: Navajo Challenge New Coal-Fired
Plant by Jeff Conant, CorpWatch, APRIL3,
a makeshift hut on a hilltop in the high desert
near Farmington, New Mexico, local schoolteacher
David Nez projects a PowerPoint presentation on
a blanket nailed to the wall. Outside the door,
a small wind and solar generator silently provides
the electricity for his computer-aided presentation.
Less than a mile away, a different technology rules.
Smoke plumes mark the horizon from huge coal-fired
power plants, as an enormous crane rips into the
Navajo coal mine, the largest open pit mine in the
If plans go through for a massive
new plant, co-owned by Houston-based Sithe Global
Power and the Dineh Power Authority (DPA), another
coal-fired facility will generate electricity
on the lands of the Dineh indigenous peoples (also
known as the Navajo by the colonizers). This tribal
enterprise has split the Navajo Nation, with some
praising the opportunity for economic development
and others decrying the inevitable effect on environment
energizes cleanup campaign Gallup Independent, MARCH 28,
- Natives have learned how to get a slow-moving
federal agency to pay more attention to the hundreds
of abandoned uranium mines still poisoning their
reservation: Hire a high-powered attorney.
It seems to be working for the Navajo
Nation. Just weeks after retaining the services
of the former federal prosecutor credited with sealing
the government's case against Enron executives Kenneth
Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, and one of Fortune Magazine's
25 people who shaped the business world in 2006,
the tribe is already reporting gains with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency....
lobbies in Washington, D.C. Navajo Times, MARCH 22, 2007
Shirley Jr. was in Washington, D.C., recently to
lobby for programs and funding important to the
These include rehabilitation of the
former Bennett Freeze area; assistance to obtain
a $500 million interest-free federal loan; retention
of Johnson-O'Malley education funding; and the opening
of a new Navajo Nation Washington Office, according
to a news release from the president's office....
Radioactive water near Hopi springs By Cyndy Cole, Arizona Daily
Sun, MARCH 19, 2007
Two Hopi villages and their wells lie in the path of a radioactive plume of water.
A plume of radioactive water is moving toward two Hopi villages, threatening to contaminate wells and spring-fed drinking water for about 1,000 residents. Nothing has been done to contain or remove the waste....
backs tribes on Peaks Use of recycled wastewater violates religious freedom,
appeals court rules
By Kathy Helms, Diné Bureau, Gallup Independent,
MARCH 13, 2007
WINDOW ROCK - In a landmark decision for 13 Southwest tribes, a federal appeals court held Monday that the use of recycled sewage water to make artificial snow on the sacred San Francisco Peaks violates their religious freedom.
The opinion by Judge William A. Fletcher of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a January 2006 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt following arguments presented Sept. 14, 2006, in San Francisco...
prosecutor takes on Navajo uranium cleanup The tribe hires John C. Hueston to press the
U.S. to remove toxic material from its land.
By Judy Pasternak, LA Times Staff Writer, FEBRUARY
The Southern California lawyer who successfully
prosecuted top Enron executives has been hired by
the Navajo tribal government to seek a full cleanup
of the old uranium mines contaminating the country's
John C. Hueston, who gained fame for
his questioning of Enron founder Kenneth L. Lay,
contacted the tribe in November after reading articles
in The Times about the poisoning of the Navajo homeland
as the government mined uranium for use in nuclear
weapons. The reports detailed how residents had
been exposed to radiation and toxic heavy metals
in their air, water, soil and even the walls and
floors of their homes....
technical victory A checkerboard ruling gives
anti-uranium forces new hope
Navajo Times, FEBRUARY 22, 2007
The standards for checkerboard areas within
the Navajo Nation are far from black and...um...red.
There's Shiprock's non-reservation neighbor,
Farmington, with its busy shopping mall and tidy Main
Street hedged with decades of racial tension.
And then there's Sections 8 and 17 in
Church Rock, N.M., and Sections 19 and 29 in Crownpoint
- about 2,300 acres in all - which are currently embroiled
in a dispute over attempts to mine uranium on privately
owned land within the two chapters....
Release - CERD International Indian Treaty Councill,
FEBRUARY 19, 2007 "Indigenous
Peoples point to Canada's violations of the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Canada's position on the UN Declaration
for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well
as its discriminatory treatment of Indigenous
Peoples in Canada and elsewhere, will be scrutinized
by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination (CERD) at its 70th session, which
begins today in Geneva, Switzerland....
Sovereignty By Staci Matlock, The New
Mexican, FEBRUARY, 19, 2007
On the surface, House Bill 178 is simple:
It asks state legislators to forego up to $85 million
in tax revenues to help the Navajo Nation and a Houston-based
power company build a coal-fired power plant south
of Shiprock. The House Energy and Natural Resources
Committee might take up the bill for a second time
But the $2.5 billion project, known as
Desert Rock Power Plant, raises deeper questions:
If the Southwest's largest cities have enjoyed economic
development for decades because of electric power
generated by coal from Navajo land, why shouldn't
the tribe finally become a major player in the power
market? "This is about the Navajo Nation using its
resources, the land and coal, for the benefit of Navajo
people," said Steven C. Begay, general manager of
Dineh Power Authority, which is partnering with Sithe
Global Power in the project.
But how does a tribe balance the modern
benefits of good-paying jobs and revenue from a coal-fired
plant versus the environmental impacts inside and
outside its boundaries? Robert Gomez, environment
director for Taos Pueblo, said the Navajo Nation has
the sovereign right to make its own decision, but
in the case of Desert Rock, emissions can impact other
tribes such as his that are trying to protect air
New Mexico concerned about Desert Rock By Lisa Meerts, Farmington
Daily Times, FEBRUARY 18, 2007
Gov. Bill Richardson set limits for greenhouse
gases in 2005 that officials say could effectively
be negated by construction of the proposed Desert
Rock Power Plant.
The 1,500-megawatt coal-fired power plant
would be located south of Shiprock on the Navajo Nation,
but within state boundaries. Therefore, the United
States Environmental Protection Agency and Navajo
Nation Environmental Protection Agency, rather than
the state, define its emissions limits....
challenge EIS By Kathy Helms, Diné
Bureau, Gallup Independent, FEBRUARY 9, 2007
WINDOW ROCK - National and tribal
environmental watchdog groups have asked the Office
of Surface Mining to redraft the Black Mesa Project
draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Citing a number of shortcomings, including
an allegation that the Draft EIS fails to meet the
most basic requirements of the National Environmental
Policy Act of 1969, the Natural Resources Defense
Council, the Black Mesa Water Coalition, the Sierra
Club and the Center for Biological Diversity have
asked OSM to address their concerns and then recirculate
the document for comment.
The groups say the EIS failed to analyze
the environmental impacts of massive water withdrawals
on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, concluding that
four decades of water withdrawals have not harmed
the Navajo aquifer to date and asserting that another
two decades would have negligible impacts....
determines parcel near Church Rock is Indian Country
By Felicia Fonseca. FEBRUARY 9, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Navajo Nation
believes a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruling
that a 160-acre parcel near Church Rock is "Indian
Country" gives the tribe a stronger position to fight
uranium mining in the area.
The tribe banned uranium mining and processing
on its land in 2005, but companies have been trying
to revive it, particularly on the eastern side of
the reservation and in the Church Rock area of northwestern
New Mexico, commonly referred to as the checkerboard
of Indian and non-Indian land....
ends bid to restart and operate Mohave Generating
Suzanne Adams, Miner
Staff Writer, FEBRUARY 08, 2007
KINGMAN - The Salt River Project has pulled
the plug on its plans to restart the Black Mesa Pipeline
and Mohave Generating Station. SRP released a statement
late Tuesday afternoon stating it was ending its efforts.
John Coggins, SRP's manager of resource
planning and development, said the main reason it
ended the effort was because it could not reach a
timely purchase agreement with Southern California
Office of Surface Mining states, "OSM will consider
comments on the Draft EIS that are received after FEBRUARY
is available to send to the Office of Surface Mining
to oppose Peabody Energy's "Life-Of-Mine"
lease. Please send your comments by February 6,
waits for ruling on snowmaking
Michael Kiefer, The
Arizona Republic, FEBRUARY 1, 2007
Up top, the snow was hard-packed and fast,
at least on the side of the hill where wind hadn't blown
That was good news at least for advanced
skiers on the day after the chairlifts opened at the
68-year-old Arizona Snowbowl, just north of Flagstaff.
But down below, on the intermediate slopes, rock tips
and dried grass poked through the scant snow cover.
Lower still, on the bunny hill, wide patches of dirt
were melting open in the Arizona sun....
members face harassment on sacred Peaks Observer,
Tuesday, JANUARY 30, 2007
FLAGSTAFF-The Flagstaff Ski area, more
commonly known as Arizona Snowbowl, officially opened
at 9 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24. A number of concerned
community members went to the ski area to offer prayers
to the mountain and witness the opening day. While
some individuals held a banner and chanted "No
desecration for recreation," others made quiet
prayers away from the lifts and runs.
"As I have been taught, this mountain
is the essence of our way of life as Diné people,"
said Klee Benally a member of the all-volunteer Save
the Peaks Coalition....
works to bring renewable energy to northern AZ
Submitted by Just Transition Coalition, Special
to the Observer,
JANUARY 30, 2007
FLAGSTAFF-Navajo and Hopi tribal members,
regional and national renewable energy experts gathered
at Northern Arizona University (NAU) on Jan. 17-19 for
the first step in bringing renewable energy to northern
Arizona's Indian lands on a grand scale.
The Community Tribal Investment Workshop,
assembled by the Flagstaff-based Just Transition Coalition,
was an attempt in part to position the tribes to receive
millions of dollars following the closure of the Mojave
Generating Station. The workshop participants believe
there is no better way to reinvest money from past coal
operations than to build a renewable energy program.
By the end of the workshop, the group of
approximately 50 participants had sketched plans for
a task force to oversee the development of a multi-level
renewable energy program for the reservations. The summit
also yielded copious directives for the task force,
ranging from the preservation of core cultural values
to various legal, political and outreach strategies
to use in building renewable energy programs....
Leupp residents anxious about Peabody water plans
By Marley Shebala, Navajo Times, JANUARY 18, 2007
LEUPP, Ariz. - More than 140 people showed up at two public hearings held here on the U.S. Office of Surface Mining's draft environmental impact statement on the proposed Black Mesa Project last week.
The proposed project calls for Peabody Western Coal Co. to increase coal production from the Kayenta and Black Mesa mines and pump more ground water.
It also involves reconstruction of a 273-mile
coal slurry pipeline, 1,600 acre-feet of additional
ground water use annually, development of 12 to 21 water
wells in Leupp, and construction of a new 108-mile pipeline
to transfer water from the Leupp wells to the mine....
run high at final Black Mesa DEIS hearing
By Rebecca Schubert, The Observer, JANUARY 16, 2007
FLAGSTAFF-Gathering from communities across northern Arizona and beyond people of the many nations including the Hopi, Navajo and U.S. came together to learn and discuss the Office of Surface Mining's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The public meeting was the final in a series of 12 held by the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining (OSM) administrators across northern Arizona.
Approximately 100 individuals were in attendance at the Little America ballroom to share their view of the Black Mesa Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) issued Nov. 22, 2006.
The DEIS includes the initial analysis of
the potential impacts of reopening the Mohave Generating
Station in Laughlin, Nev. and returning the Black Mesa
Project to operation....
Rock protesters reach agreement
By Lisa Meerts, Farmington Daily Times, JANUARY 4, 2007
BURNHAM - The parties arguing over preliminary
work at the site of the proposed Desert Rock coal-fired
power plant consented Wednesday to coexist at the
site rather than go forward with a court hearing.
The hearing was scheduled in Navajo Nation
District Court, but was canceled after the parties reached
a no-fault agreement. Had the hearing been held, a judge
would have decided whether to uphold a temporary restraining
order imposed about two weeks ago against opponents
of the proposed power plant....
Veterans, and Members of Their Families can
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The improved Scholarship Search system contains over 1,000
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Releases Report On Indians, Civil Rights
- Staff and Wire Reports
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has released
two reports saying the government fails to provide adequate
health care, law enforcement and education to American
Indians, and that civil rights of American Indians are
not protected. It is old news to Kevin Siva, a councilman
for the impoverished Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and
Cupeno Indians near Warner Springs...
Among Native Americans -The American
Diabetes Association Approximately 105,000Native Americans and Alaska Natives,
or 15.1% of the population,
receiving care from Indian Health Services (IHS), have
diabetes. At the regional level, diabetes prevalence
among Alaska Natives and 25.7%
among Native Americans in the southeastern United States.
With its complications--heart attack and stroke, blindness,
kidney disease, and amputations--diabetes is the fifth
deadliest disease in the United States, and it
has no cure....