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Archived articles 2007

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Dooda Desert Rock supporters hold prayer gathering
By Andy Bessler, Navajo Hopi Observer, NOVEMBER 21, 2007
  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 grassroots organizing.
  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....

Snowbowl 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.

Edison 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 Laughlin.
  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 areas.”
  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.”

Sacred smoke to heal US war veterans
By Robert Hodierne, BBC News
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....

Navajo 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 Reform....

Peaks opponents optimistic
Crowd supports 13 tribes in San Francisco Peaks court hearing
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 in Arizona.
  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....

Still 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....

Tribes 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....

Under 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 out....

Impoverished 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....

Panel rips into feds
Tells them they've had 30 years to cleanup uranium waste and have done nothing
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 seen happening.”
  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....

Feds 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."

Navajos: 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 mining.
  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 highway....

Navajos 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 government.
   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 repaired.
  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....

AG: 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, are over.
  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....

Snowbowl 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....

Bennett 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....

Snowbowl 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 his response.
  “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....

Dear 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....

Water 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..

Leupp Chapter officials charged by C-Aquifer for Diné with making 'secret' Canyon Diablo water deal
Navajo Hopi Observe,r AUGUST 29, 2007
  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..

IGR 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 Speaker..

Film 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.

Uranium 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.

Fear & Hope
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 as long.

Four 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.

New 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," Richardson said....

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....

Desert Rock critics flood final hearing
Jason Begay, Navajo Times JULY 26, 2007
  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 was headed.
   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....

Tribal 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....

Shirley 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 this week.
   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."

Bureau 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....

Desert 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....

Foes 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 Energy Project.
   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....

Officials 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....

Too 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....

Navajo 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....

Navajo Coal-Fired Plant Called a Cleaner Energy Source, but Critics Disagree
By Leslie Linthicum, ABQJournal, JULY15, 2007
  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 week.
   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....

Trail 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....

Durango, 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....

Western 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 Nevada.
  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....

SCE: 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.”

New 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 Monday.
  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....

What's 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 Edison's recent
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....

Electricity 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....

Reading 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.
  This year's 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)....

Residents 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....

Mohave 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 too high....

Black Mesa's troubled history
Navajo Times, JUNE 14, 2007
  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, Nev....

Mohave 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 Partnerships Program.
  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....

NACA 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 Service.
  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....

Tainted 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....

Tribes 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....

Black Mesa Project
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 5, 2007
  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 Arizona.
  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)....
Wanting 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....
Critics 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....
Plug 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 of the United States....
Is Peabody hiding their true intentions for coal mining from Navajo and Hopi tribes?
Navajo Hopi Observer, MAY 25, 2007
  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 2010.
Tip 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....
Black 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 residents.
  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....
BIA 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 recommends the
proposed coal-fired Desert Rock Power Plant project continues forward
as planned.
  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, MAY17, 2007
  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 history....
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 has concluded.
  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 utilities....
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....
Permanent 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 Thursday.
  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....
Speaking Dineh to Dirty Power: Navajo Challenge New Coal-Fired Plant
by Jeff Conant, CorpWatch, APRIL3, 2007
  In 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 western U.S.
  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 and values....
Attorney energizes cleanup campaign
Gallup Independent, MARCH 28, 2007
  GALLUP - 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....

Shirley lobbies in Washington, D.C.
Navajo Times, MARCH 22, 2007
  President Joe Shirley Jr. was in Washington, D.C., recently to lobby for programs and funding important to the tribe.
  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....

Court 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...

Enron 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 25, 2007
  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 largest reservation.
  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....
A 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
  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....
Press 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 Discrimination"
  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....
Beyond 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 this week.
  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 and water....
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....
Groups 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....
EPA 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....
SRP ends bid to restart and operate Mohave Generating Station
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 Edison....
The Office of Surface Mining states, "OSM will consider comments on the Draft EIS that are received after FEBRUARY 6, 2007."

A sample letter 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, 2007.

Resort 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 it away.
  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....
Tribal 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....
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....
Tensions 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....
Desert 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....
Servicemembers, Veterans, and Members of Their Families can now search for education scholarships that fit their particular needs at The improved Scholarship Search system contains over 1,000 scholarships worth millions of dollars, and includes details on individual scholarship eligibility, monetary amount, and deadlines. Use the new service today....
Commission 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...
Diabetes Among Native Americans -The American Diabetes Association
  Approximately 105,000 Native 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 is 5.3% 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....
Social and Human Rights Questions Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Information concerning indigenous issues requested by Economic and Social Council, Report of the Secretary-General, UN Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights.