Tag: Navajo Nation

Activists challenge permit for Navajo Generating Station

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A lawsuit claims the federal government didn’t follow open-meeting requirements as it developed a permitting plan for the Navajo Generating Station near Page. Ariz. Photo via Wikimedia and the Creative Commons.

Legal complaint alleges federal agencies violated open meeting rules

Staff Report

Community activists will challenge the federal government’s permit for the pollution-spewing Navajo Generating Station, alleging in a lawsuit that the EPA and the U.S. Department of Interior violated open-meeting regulations during the permitting process.

The plant, located on Navajo lands near Page, Arizona, is one of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired plants. Toxic emissions fall especially heavily on the Navajo Nation, which suffers some of the highest rates of asthma and other lung problems in any community in the country. Continue reading “Activists challenge permit for Navajo Generating Station”

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Environment: $160 million cleanup ordered at coal-burning, pollution-spewing Four Corners power plant

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New pollution controls will cut emissions at the Four Corners power plant.

Settlement includes requirements for regional public health and environmental mitigation projects

Staff Report

FRISCO — One of the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the country will be required to upgrade pollution controls, cutting thousands of tons of harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions.

The $160 million cleanup at the Four Corners Power Plant, located on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico, comes under a court-ordered Clean Air Act settlement between the EPA and several Arizona and New Mexico-based utility companies.

The total combined emission reductions secured from the settlement will exceed 2 million tons each year, once all the required pollution controls are installed and implemented. Continue reading “Environment: $160 million cleanup ordered at coal-burning, pollution-spewing Four Corners power plant”

Growing coalition demands faster shift to renewable energy

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Water, energy at issue in demonstration in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo courtesy Black-Mesa Water-Coalition.

Navajo Nation looking for energy and environmental justice

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — In a peaceful demonstration against energy imperialism, members of Navajo Nation demonstrated the power of solar along the Central Arizona Project canal in Scottsdale, using a large mobile solar-powered generator to run pumps that moved water from the canal into nearby buckets and barrels.

“Many Navajo families had to pen their sheep alone today on the reservation to be here in Scottsdale and show SRP (Salt River Project) that solar works,” said Marshall Johnson, Navajo Nation resident and To Nizhoni Ani co-founder. “We were able to get a little bit of water from CAP pumped into our barrels today before the police moved us, and we are going to take this back to our sheep on the reservation.”

After decades of coal industry on Navajo Nation, many Navajo families have not benefited; thousands still lack electricity and running water to their homes and haul water in trucks every week for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. One of those water trucks was used to bring the solar-powered pump alongside the CAP canal in Scottsdale today.

Navajos held the demonstration to send a message to the owners of the Navajo Generating Station coal-fired power plant near Page, Arizona that Navajo families want a transition away from a polluting coal industry on Navajo land that has powered CAP pumps for decades at the expense of residents’ land, health, water, and culture on the Navajo Reservation. Continue reading “Growing coalition demands faster shift to renewable energy”

New pipeline to deliver water to Navajo Nation

A 280-mile pipeline will bring water deep into the heart of the desert Southwest.

Project touted as key piece in meeting longstanding obligations to Native Americans

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — About 40 percent of the 200,000 residents of the Navajo Nation must drive to get water for daily use, but that may change in the next few years, as crews last week started working on a 280-mile pipeline that will shunt water from the San Juan River deep into the heart of Navajo country.

“It is simply unacceptable that four in ten members of the Navajo Nation must
haul their water, often over long distances, from water stations,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said during a ground-breaking ceremony. “This project will be an engine for economic growth, create jobs, and supply the lifeblood for communities that have been without running water for far too long,” he said. Continue reading “New pipeline to deliver water to Navajo Nation”

Climate: Sand dunes on the move in Navajo Nation

Extended drought causing landscape-level changes in Southwest

Sand dunes in the Navajo Nation are growing and moving faser as the regional climate gets drier and warmer. GRAPHIC COURTESY USGS.
Monument Valley rainbow. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With a persistent drought gripping parts of the Southwest since 1996, researchers have documented noticeable changes in the sand dunes where Navajos have eked out an austere living for generations.

The dunes are growing fast and starting to move as the regional climate changes, according U.S. Geological Survey geologist Dr. Margaret Hiza Redsteer, whose interviews with elders and historical research augment her decade-long research on Navajo Nation land.

Measurements show dunes in the Grand Falls area have grown by 70 percent since 1995. The dunes are moving northeast at 115 feet per year. Continue reading “Climate: Sand dunes on the move in Navajo Nation”

Federal court rejects Navajo Mine expansion appeal

An open-pit coal mine in Wyoming, similar to the Navajo Mine operation. PHOTO COURTESY BLM.

Decision affirms requirements for more in-depth study of impacts

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A federal appeals court this week resolved a seven-year conflict over the proposed 4,000-acre expansion of an open-pit coal mine on Navajo lands in northwestern New Mexico.

The appeals court upheld a 2010 U.S. District Court ruling that federal regulators violated environmental laws when they approved the Navajo Mine expansion without preparing an in-depth environmental impact statement. Click here to read the decision.

The federal Office of Surface Mining approved the expansion in 2004 after a superficial environmental analysis that concluded with a finding of no significant impact — despite local concerns about impacts to environmental, cultural and spiritual resources. Any new review of the expansion proposal would now include a full analysis and disclosure of those impacts.   Continue reading “Federal court rejects Navajo Mine expansion appeal”

Settlement near on Native American trust funds

A double rainbow arches over Navajo Nation lands in Arizona.

Senate acts to resolve years of litigation and water rights disputes; Obama leadership on settlements called unprecedented

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A measure that’s already passed the U.S. Senate and is now headed for the House could end years of litigation over the federal government’s management of American Indian trust funds.

Authorization of the Cobell Settlement, a $3.4 billion agreement, would also resolve four major conflicts over water rights valued at more than $1 billion and ensure delivery of clean drinking water to Indian communities. The settlements were included in an omnibus bill passed by the Senate earlier this week. Following action in the Senate, the House is expected to take up the omnibus package after the Thanksgiving recess. The Department of the Interior would begin implementation of settlements once they are signed into law by the President. Continue reading “Settlement near on Native American trust funds”