Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Letter from Conservation and Community Groups to the Owners of the Navajo Generating Station

Letter from Conservation and Community Groups to the Owners of the Navajo Generating  Station February 17, 2011 To: Navajo Generating Station Owners, From: Rob Smith/Sierra Club, Mike Eisenfeld/San Juan Citizens Alliance, Taylor McKinnon/Center for Biological Diversity, Anna Frazier/Dineʼ CARE, Roger Clark, Grand Canyon Trust, Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians, Don Yellowman/Forgotten People RE: The goals of the SRP-sponsored stakeholder meetings

We have been participants or observers in good faith for more than a month in the multiple stakeholder meetings on the future of the Navajo Generating Station at the invitation of Salt River Project, who has arranged these meetings on behalf of the owners of this coal-fired power plant. During this time we have regularly asked the owners to identify the goal of these discussions, and have consistently suggested that they focus on two primary outcomes:

1) that the Navajo Generating Station phase out the use of coal to generate power within the next few years, replacing it with clean, renewable energy sources, and
2) that a transition plan be developed, including funding, to provide for longterm economic opportunity for the affected tribes and communities by shifting from coal to clean, renewable energy sources

We now request that the plant owners, including the Department of Interiorʼs Bureau of Reclamation, clearly state whether or not they are committed to achieving these two goals through this stakeholder process.

If all parties do not share these two goals, then we do not see the value of continuing to participate in these stakeholder meetings.

We invite any party that shares these two goals to join with us in working for environmental justice and economic opportunities for the local tribes and communities, for greater health benefits for all citizens of the area, and for cleaner air and the reduction of climate-altering emissions.

We assert that these objectives will only be reached by a transition to clean, renewable energy in the region.

ngs-letter-to-SRP-and-owners-on-goals.pdf

Interior Invites Public Input on Future Hardrock Mineral Development in Northern Arizona near the Grand Canyon

The Bureau of Land Management Arizona State Office Comments stated comments related to opposing uranium mining hardrock mineral development in the Grand Canyon watershed should have in the subject title:  “mineral development” and sent via E-mail to: NAZproposedwithdrawal@azblm.org  Also, please attend a public hearing with US Department of the Interior Public hearing on uranium mining  March 8, 2011 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm, High Country Conference Center, Agassiz & Fremont Rooms, 201 West Butler Avenue, Flagstaff , AZ 86001.

Subject: Interior Invites Public Input on Future Hardrock Mineral Development in Northern Arizona near the Grand Canyon

7:36 PM March 8, 2011
Public hearing on uranium mining from 6:00pm to 8:30pm
High Country Conference Center, Agassiz & Fremont Rooms,
201 West Butler Avenue, Flagstaff , AZ 86001

Date: February 17, 2011

Contact: Kendra Barkoff (202) 208-6416

Interior Invites Public Input on Future Hardrock Mineral Development in Northern Arizona near the Grand Canyon

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and is seeking public comment on a proposal to withdraw lands in the Grand Canyon watershed that would affect uranium and other hardrock mineral development in that area.

The public is invited to provide input on four alternatives in the Draft EIS, including a no-action (no withdrawal) alternative, to help determine whether Federal lands should be withdrawn from location and entry under the 1872 Mining Law for 20 years, subject to valid existing rights.

The current two-year segregation from new mining claims in the Arizona Strip near the Grand Canyon is allowing us to gather the best science available, engage the public, and make an informed decision about whether lands in the watershed should be withdrawn from new mining claims, said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. With the input of local communities, tribes, stakeholders, and scientists, the Bureau of Land Management has developed four alternatives on which we encourage people to provide their feedback and views. This process will help make a decision that recognizes the need for wise development of our energy resources, the importance of healthy lands and waters, and the voices of local communities, tribes, states, and stakeholders.

Brenda Norrell, CENSORED NEWS: Truck load of safe drinking water for Navajos drinking uranium poisoned water

Saturday, February 19, 2011
Truck load of safe drinking water for Navajos drinking uranium poisoned water

Photos by Forgotten People

Forgotten People, Navajo Nation, Arizona: Friday, February 18, 2011, Pastor Jimmy Bowling and Operation Compassion delivered a semi with 80,000 lbs. of safe drinking water, produce, winter coats, blankets to Forgotten People in Box Springs, Black Falls, Grand Falls, who are drinking uranium and arsenic contaminated water. Next delivery of safe drinking water in early March by Native American Support Mission.

Greetings! Thank you Operation Compassion, Native American Support Mission and Vision Ministries of America for demonstrating your commitment to Forgotten People. With your help, we delivered 17 pallets, 80,000 lbs. of safe drinking water into pick up trucks and flat beds to bring it to Box Springs. We also got pallets of fresh produce, juice, brand new winter coats, clothing. It was an incredibly beautiful day!

Rolanda Tohannie. Box Springs said: “Water is a blessing. I love what Forgotten People and Operation Compassion did for us! Thank you God for answering my prayers. Now, for a while, we can drink good water, my grandkids Aden and Ariel can visit me here and I can play with them. With Leupp Station water point and Black Falls watering point broken, everyone is back to drinking contaminated water. My health is gone and my body is worthless, it is no good to me anymore. I have thyroid cancer and seven operations in the last year. On March 7, 2011 at 2:15 PM, I will undergo another operation at Flagstaff Medical Center for cancer they found on my tonsils. It is super what happened here today. hope this safe drinking water will help me live a little longer.

FloraBelle Paddock, Black Falls said: “I was getting safe drinking water from US Environmental Protection Agency Superfund program. When that stopped it caused me great hardship. I am thankful for Forgotten People and Operation Compassion. This water will help us survive for a little while longer.”

Alice Tso, Box Springs said: “I have cancer and am very thankful and appreciative of the help of Forgotten People and Operation Compassion for delivering safe drinking water so we can stop drinking contaminated water for a little while. There is no help from other sources. With you help, I will be in good health. Thank you!”

Ronald Tohannie, Forgotten People’s Black Falls Project Manager and Benson Willie of Black Falls said, “The Black Falls watering point has been broken for 2 months. Now Leupp Station watering point is broken. We know how to conduct repairs but we are told we cannot do the repairs because we are not certified. We want to know, why isn’t someone coming out from Window Rock to fix the Black Falls watering point? Don’t they know the only water sources we have are contaminated and everyone is back to using Box Springs, Paddock Springs, Badger Springs when we know it will kill us? The situation is critical and we appreciate your help!

Rolanda Tohannie is currently sorting clothes and coats by ages and local residents are distributing the water and fresh produce in their communities.

Thank you,
Forgotten People
Navajo Nation, Arizona
www.forgottennavajopeople.org
info@forgottennavajopeople.org
Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com at 2:22 PM

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/02/truck-load-of-safe-drinking-water-for.html

Also see: Navajos Forgotten Peoples Right to Water, United Nations: Forgotten People’s Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation is up on the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website: http://www.scribd.com/doc/49227137 4 15 07 Forgotten People Right to Water on UN OHCHR website

Brenda Norrell, CENSORED NEWS states: Although I rarely post projects of religious ministries, these photos tell this story well, about the need for clean safe water on the Navajo Nation, especially where radioactive tailings remain strewn all these years from Cold War uranium… mining. The corporations have avoided responsibility for the most part. Now, new corporations want to start uranium mining on the Navajo Nation borders. The photos also bring to mind other questions: Is safe drinking water for Navajos a priority of the Navajo Nation government? Does safe drinking water have as much importance to the Navajo Nation government as building another power plant? Has the Navajo Nation Council forgotten the Navajos of Black Mesa and western Navajoland?

Picassa Web Album of 2/18/2011 Operation Compassion Safe Drinking Water Delivery, water tanks, fresh produce, new winter coats, clothes.

Forgotten People’s Picassa Web Album:

picasaweb.google.com

Photos by Forgotten People, Feb 18, 2011
https://picasaweb.google.com/forgottenpeoplecdc/2182011OperationCompassionWaterDelivery?feat=directlink

Brenda Norrell CENSORED NEWS: Navajo Voices: Peabody Coal's dark legacy on Black Mesa

Brenda Norrell
CENSORED NEWS: Navajo Voices: Peabody Coal’s dark legacy on Black Mesa
bsnorrell.blogspot.com
2/20/201

Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

Navajos on Black Mesa describe the disease and death that Peabody Coal has brought. As Navajos continue to live without running water and electricity, Peabody continues to profiteer and gouge out the coal, the liver of Mother Earth. –Censored News

Forgotten Peoples Voices: Glenna Begay’s residence, Black Mesa (Navajo Nation), Arizona, Thursday, February 17, 2011, 1:00 PM

By Forgotten People

Forty people attended the meeting. Due to a death at the mine Friday, February 11, 2011 the Peabody mine tour was cancelled. Due to confusion about whether the community tour would still take place, Navajo Generating Station owners were absent. Present were Bill Auberle and John Grahame, EN3 Professionals/Communications, Andy Bessler, Sierra Club, Marie Gladue, Black Mesa Water Coalition, John Braham, a documentary filmmaker, Beth Holland, Climate Scientist, Noelle Clark, NAU Climate Scientist, Jane Marx, NAU Climate Change educator, Mr. Weatherspoon, Council delegate for Hardrock, Forest Lake and Black Mesa and local residents

Carlos Begay, Jr., Black Mesa opened the meeting about 1 pm, served as meeting facilitator and opened with a prayer. Then Carlos introduced his mother Glenna Begay, his uncle Bilta Begay who has black lung, his sisters, Salina and Helena Begay, his father, Carlos Begay, Sr.

Glenna Begay, Black Mesa: I use the land like I did in younger years. In our tradition you never say this is my land. This is where I grew up with livestock, a cornfield. I am still using a lantern and haul water and wood. I live off my livestock and crops. There is no compensation from Peabody. I have no electricity, no running water. I want my roads graded, gravel and culverts in the wash for the mud season. The roads are usually ungraded. I asked Peabody for help and Walter Begay, Black Mesa Review Board on numerous occasions. All the natural springs are depleted from the slurry pipeline. Peabody’s water well is my only water source now and it needs to be upgraded for our use with the best available technology. In the early dawn there is a lot of dust and smoke over the valley. We all have respiratory problems.

Bilta Begay, Black Mesa: I was a Peabody employee. We endured this hardship everyday. No help. In the beginning before Peabody came in there were negotiations between a few people. Only the older folks were involved and we were told local residences would be employed. This never really happened and due to the strip mining, the vegetation has disappeared and the people who lived on the land. It is due to Peabody that I have health problems. I see so many doctors about my heart, black lung, sickness due to coal dust. So many others have passed on with health problems, black lung, silicosis, accidents. People die there.

Billy Austin, Black Mesa: I grew up 2 miles from here. Due to Peabody a lot of people relocated to different regions. When I was young I participated in the negotiations. It was only for people with grazing permits. Mainly older people negotiated. When that happened, people were promised utilities, water, most were never met and people got dislocated from the land, never compensated, corrals bulldozed. All the coal was taken out. There were so many springs. When I grew up traditional, we made offerings to sacred places. Everything now is displaced and we are forced to travel great distances to haul water. The windmills are broken. We go to the Chapter and Peabody to ask for help. No help. We are neglected from everywhere. No electricity, no water lines. The closest water is Peabody and Peabody is threatening us they will shut it off. Last year we had deep snow. No help. People were trapped in Cactus Valley. We had to get the National Guard to help. Our homes are suffering from blasting damage, our streams are contaminated and dark from coal dust. The air is full of dust and smoke and it settles in our lungs. Jimmy Manson died of black lung. I have three young grandkids. They have delicate lungs and we have no where else to go. The ozone layer is gaping hole. The world was good in the past but now it is contaminated. The ozone was balanced and now it is ruined and we can’t fix it. The mine should stop.

Leta O’Daniel, Big Mountain: There used to be a lot of rain. Not much now. Pollution is really happening. I live 10 miles down the road from Peabody and the blasting moves my Hogan. My home is coming apart. A lot of coal dust blows around. Can you help us? Can you make our lives a little better. We have no water and no electricity. Make Peabody help. I burn kerosene, propane. The fumes are affecting our health . We smell the coal dust all the time. I would like electricity and running water. A school. Peabody here should make our lives a little easier. We go through a lot of hassle to fix dinner at night. It is a difficult life. There are only elders out here now and Peabody will not help. We want decent roads, emergency assess in hash weather. The roads are so bad it causes erosion and sometimes the roads cave in. It makes our trucks rattle. Some of my children are in the Marine Corp. Where will they live when they come back home? It seems to me we are going backwards. Peabody made a lot of promises. What I see makes me really sad. Please help us, our children and grandchildren. Our homes are beyond repair and are not safe. My daughter’s hogan roof caved in from the snow. It is not safe for her to live there. Mr. Weatherspoon here, you are a council delegate for Hardrock, Forest Lake and Black Mesa. I am happy there is a lot of interest by agencies who are listening to our voice for the first time with Navajo Generating Station, Salt River Project, Central Arizona Project.

Rena Babbitt Lane, Black Mesa (did not have a chance to speak. Marsha Monestersky assured her, that her comments would be included in these minutes.) Rena Babbitt Lane said: We live in on top of Black Mesa, Horse Corral Point and Look Out for Horses Point, Water Chimney, above the route of Peabody Coal Company’s/Black Mesa Pipeline, Inc. coal slurry pipeline. Burt and Caroline Tohannie are my neighbors. A few times the pipeline burst and they had to weld off the pipe at the water shaft contaminating our land and water resources. My use of my customary area is my livelihood. I am a medicine woman herbalist healer and hand trembler. Medicine men and patients ask me to gather herbs and prepare it for them. All the washes, canyons where most of the herbs are found are gone. The springs have dried up from Peabody’s coal slurry pipeline. The herbs are gathered with offerings but the land and water sources are dry and the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has capped off and dismantled four of the windmills near where we live. I am forced to travel 17 miles each way over rough dirt roads to get water. This caused the fame of our truck to break. Peabody should help fix the road and provide bulldozers to dig out water impoundments at locations we identify near our homes. My grandfather built some of these earth dams but they are filled with sediment. All my children and myself want a home. I live in a house that is very small. All I see are broken promises to rebuild from the past but it is not there anymore. I want to see all my children have homes and hogans and I want access to water and sanitation. I want Peabody’s Kayenta mine to close. They are not a good neighbor.

Marsha Monestersky, Program Director, Forgotten People: I see you are not taking notes. I will submit my notes and a Peabody Health Effects study that was used as evidence to oppose US DOI’s OSM approval of Peabody’s Black Mesa life-of-mine permit. The last time I saw Roy Tso was to accompany him and David Brugge, anthropologist on OSM investigations to help protect his burial and sacred sites from Peabody bulldozers including the burial site of his son. Roy died shortly afterwards of black lung and silicosis. I knew Jimmy Manson. He died of black lung. James Johnson and Lee Nez (Lena Manheimer’s brother) all have black lung and silicosis. James Johnson was part of the exploration team and he, Roy Tso and Calvin Etcitty were drillers for blasting. They all died. Lee Nez, Simon Crank and Paul Johnson are still around but they all have black lung.

Postscript: On February 19, 2011, Jay Turner asked if his comments could be included. He said: I am a 10-year Miner (2 plus years as representative of miners) and I have seen the failure of MSHA and FMSHRC-ALJ to uphold Federal Mine Safety & Health Act (Public Law 95-164) Miner protective provisions, as evidenced in Pro Se 105C Discrimination case (copies of case related docs available from me 661 242-3000), and audio recording of FMSHRC’s “open meeting”

(Docket No. WEST 2006-568-DM) available at: http://www.fmshrc.gov/new/meetings.html
– refer: “October 7th, 2010” – “Audio of Meeting”. Please read.

Thank you, Navajo Generating Station for paying for Subway sandwiches and drinks. Thank you, Andy Bessler of Sierra Club and Marie Gladue of Black Mesa Water Coalition for organizing the community tour.

Notes prepared on 2/20/2011 by Marsha Monestersky, Program Director, Forgotten People, (928) 401-1777, forgottenpeoplecdc@gmail.com, http://www.forgottennavajopeople.org/
Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com at 7:22 PM

Also see: Navajos Forgotten Peoples Right to Water, United Nations:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/49227137

4 15 07 Forgotten People Right to Water on UN OHCHR website

Forgotten People’s Picassa Web Album

https://picasaweb.google.com/forgottenpeoplecdc/2172011BlackMesaMeetingWithNGS?feat=directlink

Gallup Independent Peabody mine worker killed in Kayenta

Peabody mine worker killed in Kayenta
2/15/2011

By Kathy Helms
Dine Bureau
Gallup Independent

WINDOW ROCK – A Peabody Western Coal Co. employee was killed Friday during a collision at the Kayenta Mine.

Roy Black of the Longhouse Valley area west of Kayenta, an employee of the Kayenta Mine, was fatally injured as the result of an accident between a service truck and a piece of road maintenance equipment, according to Peabody.

The mine was immediately shut down for a full investigation, and the appropriate tribal, state and federal officials were contacted. The incident is under investigation by mine officials and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Health and Safety Administration.

“We mourn the loss of a fellow employee, and we express our deepest sympathies to family members and friends,” Peabody stated in a press release.

Local sources said the accident occurred around 2 p.m., in the J-21 area when a scraper truck collided with a greaser truck driven by Black.

The death occurred one day after MSHA issued a fatality alert to the mining community profiling the causes of and circumstances surrounding the 71 fatal accidents that occurred last year.

Among those, four surface coal mine truck drivers were killed in haulage accidents when they lost control of their trucks and either struck another truck, turned over the truck, or the truck went through a berm and over a highwall. Another six coal miners were killed working in close proximity to mining or haulage equipment.

“2010 will be remembered for the dramatic explosion that killed 29 men at the Upper Big Branch Mine and for the deaths of 42 other miners across the nation whose lives ended in needless tragedy,” Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of Labor for MSHA, said. “We can – and must – honor all of these miners by increasing our efforts to ensure safe and healthy workplaces for our nation’s miners.”

Of the 71 deaths in 2010, 48 occurred in coal mines, 23 occurred at metal and nonmetal operations, and nearly half of those victims were contractors. Excluding the 29 miners who died last April at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, preliminary information indicates that more than half of the remaining 42 deaths involved violations of MSHA’s “Rules to Live By” standards, and represent the same causes of deaths that have occurred frequently over the last 10 years.

“We must all learn from these tragedies and act to prevent additional fatalities,” Main said. “Fatalities are not inevitable. They can be prevented using effective safety and health management programs, workplace examinations for hazards, and effective and appropriate training so that miners recognize and understand the hazards, and how to control or eliminate them.”

Information: http://www.msha.gov

High Country News Will the EJ legacy of Southwest coal be addressed?

High Country News

A Just West

Will the EJ Legacy of Southwest coal be addressed?

February 15, 2011

by Andy Bessler, Field Organizer for the Sierra Club

I have been busy this year chasing my two young ones around the house trying to get giddy little happy people to take a few moments from their daily joy to drink some water, gulp vitamins and brush their teeth before bed so they can stay healthy. The need to play is often prioritized over their health, but they get it and do it.

As the future of coal is discussed in many communities and utility board rooms, I am

equally navajo power plantbusy chasing decision makers playing around and avoiding the healthy choices of brushing up on the EJ issues that, if addressed, would bring us to that elusive sweet spot of addressing coal’s dark legacy and dangerous pollution while bringing more jobs and brighter tribal economies with a clean energy future.

For the owners and key decision makers of the large coal plants in the Southwest like the Navajo Generating Station on the shores of Lake Powell, a child’s creativity and simple ideas might really help our national dialogue around the transition from coal to renewables.

The Salt River Project, a huge Phoenix-based utility that manages the generating station, has been hosting meetings across the state with diverse stakeholders including the Navajo, Hopi and Gila River Nations; tribal NGO’s like the Black Mesa Water Coalition and the Forgotten People; conservation groups like the Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust, Department of Interior, Central Arizona Project and their big irrigators.  One participant told a story about his granddaughter viewing one of the slides of the huge generating station smokestacks on his computer. When discussing what Granddad was doing, she nodded her head and said, “Why can’t they just put a big cork in those smokestacks?”

We all laughed together with childlike abandon. Yes…it was a strange moment: Sierra Club, Peabody, Federal officials, Phoenix irrigators, all laughing together with a vision of big corks in smokestacks solving the problems of burning coal. The jovial moment underscored what we all knew to be true: stopping all emissions at a coal plant would not be as simple as a child’s cork. Discussions meant to avoid lawsuits and plant shutdowns are not easy, but I was willing to give it a try.

Most parties, including the Sierra Club, have made presentations that can be viewed on a website. The next meeting is on Friday in Flagstaff.  These meetings have allowed power plant decision makers to hear the perspectives of families living near Peabody’s mine and the plant. One elder from the Forgotten People asked the owners, “are you trying to exterminate us?” Many concerns have been discussed but nothing really has happened yet. You can follow the process blow by blow here.

Navajo Generating Station is a unique coal plant in that the federal government is the largest single owner. Therefore, we are urging the Department of Interior to take a stronger leadership role in securing a just transition for one of most toxic coal plants in the region. Other owners like Salt River Project are still running and playing, avoiding the toothbrush. Despite great attempts at delay, EPA is expected to issue orders to install better pollution controls on the power plant this summer. They need to do their job and not delay the much needed pollution controls.

In terms of the Black Mesa Mine that feeds the plant, its future is uncertain to say the least. I am happy to report a victory in our attempts to bring justice to the Navajo and Hopi communities impacted by Peabody’s mines. Our tribal partners represented by the Energy Minerals Law Center were part of a settlement that secured a public release of Peabody’s operating permit for the Kayenta and Black Mesa mines under the Freedom of Information Act. You can now view the entire Peabody 30-volume permit here.

Every night I manage to get toothpaste on the brush and help my kids progress towards better health. I haven’t yet had such luck with the owners of big coal plants and coal mines.

Essays in the Just West blog are not written by High Country News. The authors are solely responsible for the content.

Andy Bessler is a Field Organizer for the Sierra Club based in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he raises his two kids Noah and Ruby with his wife Erin. Andy represents the Sierra Club in the Southwest on the nexus between environmental justice and a clean energy transition for local and regional economies off dirty coal. He is also a sitting board member of several non-profits including Friends of Flagstaff’s Future, The Plateau Chapter of the Society of Conservation Biology and is an adviser to the Black Mesa Water Coalition.

Photo of the Navajo Generating Station stacks courtesy the author.

http://www.hcn.org/greenjustice/blog/will-the-ej-legacy-of-southwest-coal-be-addressed

Forgotten People's PowerPoint & Resolution is posted on the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) website

Forgotten People’s PowerPoint presentation and Resolution to Navajo Generating Station (NGS) owners is posted on the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) website.

http://en3pro.com/2011/02/08/third-meeting-notes/

Author: John
• Tuesday, February 08th, 2011

105 people attended the third meeting in Page, AZ and 10 joined by phone. There were seven new presentations, including Framework for a Solution by Letty Belin, counselor to David Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior.

Presentations:

  1. Forgotten People – Don Yellowman, President; Marsha Monestersky; Caroline Tohani; and Marcie Edgewater: Forgotten People and NGS – Securing Economic & Climate Justice

    Forgotten People Resolution to NGS

Also, please check out PowerPoint presentations by Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, Asst. Sec’y, US Dept. of the Interior, Black Mesa Trust, Inter-tribal Coalition….

US EPA's new proposal to Four Corners Power Plant

US Environmental Protection Agency
Region 9: Air Programs

Air Actions on Four Corners Power Plant and Navajo Generating Station

EPA’s new proposal to Four Corners Power Plant cuts more NOx emissions, protects health, saves jobs Arizona Public Service lauded for saving Native American jobs, environment

SAN FRANCISCO 2/11/2011 – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a supplemental proposal to reduce emissions from the Four Corners Power Plant. The new proposal will reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from approximately 45,000 tons per year to 5,800 tons per year, 3,200 tons less than EPA’s initial proposal. The proposal will also work to protect public health in the area by ensuring residents have cleaner air with fewer harmful pollutants.

Today’s action follows EPA’s initial October proposal to require pollution controls at the Four Corners Power Plant. In response to that proposal, Arizona Public Service put forward an alternative requiring plant operators to install Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) on two of the five coal-fired boilers and shut down the three older ones. SCR is the most stringent pollution control technology available for this type of facility.

“The new proposal controls emissions better, while costing less and preserving jobs”, said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This plant is the nation’s largest source of nitrogen oxides. By reducing its emissions by 87% – rather than our initial proposal of 80% – we will all be able to see the results and breathe cleaner, healthier air.”

Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Mine which supplies its coal, employ roughly 1000 people, 75% of whom are Native American. Both facilities have pledged “No Layoffs” if Units 1-3 are closed.

Today’s proposal would reduce visibility impact from Four Corners Power Plant by an average 72% at the national parks and wilderness areas. Every year over 280 million people visit our nation’s most treasured parks and wilderness areas. Yet, many visitors aren’t able to see the spectacular vistas because of the veil of white or brown haze that hangs in the air, reducing visibility and dulling the natural beauty.

EPA is requesting comment on today’s proposal in addition to the October 2010 proposal by May 2, 2011. Members of the public in the Four Corners area will have four opportunities to attend open houses and public hearings during the week of March 28, 2011. For additional information on the proposed rulemaking and opportunities to provide input, please go to: http://www.epa.gov/region9/air/navajo/

Media Contact: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415.947.4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

February 11, 2011 – Supplemental Notice for Public Comment

EPA Supplements October 2010 Proposal for Best Available Retrofit Technology for Four Corners Power Plant with Alternative Option to Result in Greater Emissions Reductions and Visibility Improvement

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposes to allow Four Corners Power Plant (FCPP) to close Units 1 – 3 by 2014 and to meet a NOx limit of 0.098 lb/MMBtu on Units 4 and 5 by July 31, 2018, achievable with the installation and operation of selective catalytic reduction (SCR), in lieu of meeting the emission limits in our October 19, 2010 proposed rulemaking for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). EPA’s analysis of this alternative emission control strategy and our determination that the alternative will result in more progress than our October 2010 proposal towards our national visibility goal at lower cost, is included in the Supplemental Notice.

EPA is accepting comments on this Supplemental Notice concurrently with our October 19, 2010 proposed BART determination. The comment period for the October 2010 proposal and the February 2011 Supplemental Notice both close on May 2, 2011.

Final Actions:  EPA Finalizes Clean Air Plan for Navajo Generating Station

February 25, 2010: Final action on Source-specific Federal Implementation Plan for Navajo Generating Station

EPA finalized a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to regulate emissions from the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), located on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona. The purpose of the FIP is to ensure protection of tribal air resources. The plan previously followed emissions limits established in the Arizona State Implementation Plan. However, EPA’s promulgation of the Tribal Authority Rule clarified that State air quality regulations generally could not be extended to facilities located on the reservation. This FIP establishes federally enforceable emissions limitations for sulfur dioxide, total particulate matter, and opacity, and sets a control measures requirement for dust.

http://www.epa.gov/region9/air/navajo/

Forgotten People meets with Navajo Generating Station owners

15 members of Forgotten People traveled to Page Friday, February 4, 2011 and joined 75-100 people to meet with owners of Navajo Generating Station owners, environmental organizations, the Hopi Chairman, Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, downstream irrigation users. It was the first time US Department of the Interior attended even though they are the owner (major shareholder), operator and regulator.

For the first time the Indigenous voice was there and strong. The next events planned are  a tour of the affected communities in Black Mesa and the mining facility on February 17, 2011 and a meeting in Flagstaff, AZ on On February 18, 2011. We will keep you updated.

Here is the link for Forgotten People’s PowerPoint presentation: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1038277289/22aed180d4508b74f84823a04ecbd4a9

Here is the link to Forgotten People’s Resolution to NGS owners:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DRMgZa99J2HlylwfVd7u8VI8yYrOdjNYZL9s17sRwZo/edit?hl=en

Text follows of the Resolution:

RESOLUTION OF FORGOTTEN PEOPLE

Forgotten People urges the US Department of the Interior (DOI), Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona Public Service (APS), Tucson Electric Power (TEP), and Nevada Power to abandon Navajo Generating Station (NGS) retrofit plans and create a timeline for transition to clean energy sources, support US Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to develop nationwide limits on global warming pollution from power plants, finalization of a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to regulate emissions from NGS, establish federally enforceable emissions limitations for sulfur dioxides, total particulate matter, and opacity, Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) limits for NOx and PM emissions, and US DOI’s fulfillment of their trust responsibility to the Navajo, Hopi, and southern AZ tribes by cleaning up NGS emissions, honoring the US Treaty with the Navajo Nation of 1849 and 1868, the President’s Executive Order 13514, the DOI Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, the President’s Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, international laws on the right to development and human rights, and Dine’ Fundamental, Traditional and Customary law

WHEREAS:

1.  Forgotten People is a grassroots community based organization in the western portion of the Navajo Nation that is directly affected by a 43-year US government imposed Bennett Freeze, relocation, Navajo Generating Station, Peabody Western Coal Company, and the observed adverse impacts of those mining activities on air quality, water quality, animal and human health, sacred sites, burial sites and cultural and historic sites; and

2.  The Forgotten People is a community benefit nonprofit organization incorporated on the Navajo Nation under the Navajo Corporation Code and is dedicated to rebuilding communities and preservation of the environment; and

3.  The Forgotten People is vested the responsibility to provide and address concerns of the people within its communities with respect to local matters consistent with Navajo law, is a direct democracy that makes decisions by a vote of the People and governs with responsibility and accountability to community membership; and

4.  The NGS produces 1/4 of all US greenhouse gas emissions – 300 lbs. of mercury each year, and emits as much pollution as LA and Denver, impairing visibility locally and at the Grand Canyon.  Based on a ranking by the US EPA, a 2009 report “America’s Biggest Polluters” stated the Navajo Generating Station is the eighth dirtiest plant in the nation, releasing 20.1 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2007; and

5.  On December 23, 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its timeline for developing nationwide limits on global warming pollution from power plants, the largest single source of global warming pollution. The regulations will be applied to plants that were “grandfathered” (exempted) under the original Clean Air Act; and [1]

6. Forgotten People supports the US EPA’s finalization of a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to regulate emissions from NGS, establish federally enforceable emissions limitations for sulfur dioxides, total particulate matter, and opacity, and Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) limits for NOx and PM emissions; and

7. The NGS does not have a reliable source for coal.  Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) contact with PWCC expires in 2016.  The life-of-mine permit for PWCC Black Mesa mine was vacated by an administrative law judge in January 2010 and the mine has been closed since the Mohave Generating Station shut down 6 years ago. PWCC’s Black Mesa and Kayenta mine lease expires with the Navajo Nation in 2011.  PWCC cannot mine one piece of coal out of the ground and any lease issued to do activity by law requires a permit and the Kayenta mine is running out of good coal; and

8. The railroad carrying coal from the Kayenta mine to NGS does not have a transportation permit as required under SMCRA, barrier arms and warning lights at the railroad crossings which has resulted in the death of people and livestock; and

9. Observed adverse impacts of the burning of coal are affecting air quality, water quality and access to water for water haulers living in the vicinity of Peabody that do not have piped water, electricity, and are experiencing health effects including Black Lung, Silicosis, asthma, widespread chronic lung problems, coughs, sore throats, eye irritations, flu like symptoms, asthma, dark yellowish mucous coughed up by children and adults due to pollution, especially the dust and smoke generated by NGS; and

10. A 2008 study found that people living in mining communities are 70 percent more likely to develop kidney disease, 64 percent more likely to have chronic lung diseases such as emphysema, and 30 percent more likely to report hypertension. Those who live near coal-burning power plants are also at higher risk; and [2]

11. Animals raised as part of a subsistence lifestyle are show ongoing flulike symptoms, asthma, shaking diseases, sometimes dying in large numbers over a short period of time from unknown illnesses (sometimes without any apparent symptoms, sometimes accompanied by symptoms indicative of toxic exposure), and discoloration and spots are found on their organs when they are butchered due to exposure to pollution generated by mining activities and [3]

12. Sally Young who allowed NGS to come onto her property in exchange for promises to build her a home, provide her with electricity and jobs for her children lost all her sheep when they consumed toxic coal ash and subsequently lost her grazing permit. NGS promises were never fulfilled [4]; and

13. As a result of mining operations, people are suffering from confusion, despair, stress, depression and death by grief as a result of desecration and destruction of their environment, their basis for subsistence and destruction of their sacred ceremonial, burial, offering sites and other federally protected historic and cultural sites including Anasazi burials sites that were disturbed were not covered up after removal of the remains.  Their locations are marked by archeologists’ stakes in violation of our religion.  Mounds of dirt remain adjacent to the graves sifted for ceremonial objects that were taken to unknown locations; and

14. In June 1998, while a United Nations Human Rights investigation was underway, a Kiva containing 28 Anasazi burials was destroyed and is now under tons of dirt. Another cemetery was bulldozed despite numerous pleas from my people.  Many human remains were taken from the site and others were left scattered on the surface of the ground.  Family members don’t even know what happens to the remains they removed.  Next to the bulldozed area is a site where we make offerings and have held many ceremonies, including fire dances; and  [5]

15. Forgotten People recognizes the burning of coal is contributing to unrestrained greenhouse-gas emissions. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) found 2010 and 2005 tied as the hottest years ever. More countries set national high-temperature records in 2010 than ever before, including the biggest one, Russia. Arctic sea ice in December was at its lowest level ever.  Every one of the twelve hottest years on record has come since 1997; and  [6]

16. Federal regulations under 40 CFR 51, Appendix Y, provide guidance and regulatory authority for conducting a visibility impairment analysis for designated eligible sources. The program requires the application of BART to those existing eligible sources that are believed to cause or contribute to visibility impairment in order to help meet the targets for visibility improvement at designated Class I areas. All three units at the NGS are BART eligible; and  [7]

17. Coal that is mined gets burned and creates coal ash. Big coal has spent millions of dollars touting the virtues of what the industry calls “clean coal,” but coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and this cost is not factored into the price. When coal is burned it releases monstrous quantities of deadly compounds and gases — and it all has to go somewhere. The worst of the waste — heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and mercury, all of which are highly toxic — are concentrated in the ash that’s left over after coal is burned or in the dirty sludge that’s scrubbed from smokestacks; and

18. Climate change creates a challenge for sheepherders and weavers. Drought decreases vegetation and a deficiency of water supply. Due to climate change sheepherders and ranchers have to haul water to feed their livestock, wells and steams have dried out. Due to climate change, Churro sheep have become a disappearing breed. Another cultural staple that is threatened due to climate change is our medicinal plants. Herb growth has decreased greatly. A huge component to that decline is the many mining operations on our territories; and [8]

19. There must be an accounting of the financial costs for releasing greenhouse gases, an end to subsidies to fossil fuels and the provision of subsidies so renewable energy can compete in the global marketplace. Navajo Generating Station(NGS) must employ Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to clean the NOx and SO2 emissions; and

20.  NGS supplies 95% of the power for the Central Arizona Project (CAP).  In a water-constrained world, the NGS is withdrawing eight billion gallons of water annually from Lake Powell.  Pumping the water nearly 3,000 vertical feet in an energy-intensive process has made CAP the state’s top energy consumer. Declining water levels may force the power plant to shut down.  If water levels drop low enough to disable Navajo, the hydroelectric plant at the base of Glen Canyon Dam would also be unusable; and  [9]

21.  In June of 2010, the lake was at 39 percent of its capacity, and on October 17, 2010, it reached 1,083 ft (330 m), setting a new record low. Changing rainfall patterns, natural climate variability, high levels of evaporation, reduced snow melt runoff, and current water use patterns are putting pressure on water management resources at Lake Mead as the population depending on it for water and the Hoover Dam for electricity continues to grow. A 2008 paper in Water Resources Research states that at current usage allocation and projected climate trends, there is a 50% chance that live storage in lakes Mead and Powell will be gone by 2021, and that the reservoir could drop below minimum power pool elevation of 1,050 feet (320 m) as early as 2017; and [10]

22.  The Navajo Generating Station (NGS) emits more than 19 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. In 2004, it was the nation’s fifth largest power plant emitter of carbon dioxide and eleventh largest emitter of nitrogen oxides. Coal-fired power plants are responsible for one-third of America’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions—about the same amount as all transportation sources — cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, planes, ships, and trains — combined. Coal-fired power plants are largest single source of carbon dioxide in the country. NASA scientist James Hansen said that phasing out coal “is 80% of the solution to the global warming crisis”; and [11]

23. In a March of 2010 report, “Coal Plants in Transition: An Economic Case Study” used the NGS as a case study to examine the costs and benefits of the plant’s future favored the phasing out of existing coal plants over retrofitting them with scrubber technology. The report notes that retrofits can entail substantial costs, running into the hundreds of millions of dollars and it may be more profitable to abandon retrofit plans and instead embrace a full range of clean energy resources, including wind, photovoltaic and concentrated solar, geothermal, and biomass, combined with large-scale supply and demand-side efficiency measures. [12]

24. Diné religion forbids strip mining and coal fired power plants which violates basic teachings in which the Earth, Land, Air and Water Resources are living entities that are being harmed and requests a timeline to abandon retrofit plans and create a timeline for transition to clean energy sources.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

Forgotten People urges the US Department of the Interior (DOI), Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona Public Service (APS), Tucson Electric Power (TEP), and Nevada Power to abandon Navajo Generating Station (NGS) retrofit plans and create a timeline for transition to clean energy sources, support US Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to develop nationwide limits on global warming pollution from power plants, finalization of a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to regulate emissions from NGS, establish federally enforceable emissions limitations for sulfur dioxides, total particulate matter, and opacity, Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) limits for NOx and PM emissions, and US DOI’s fulfillment of their trust responsibility to the Navajo, Hopi, and southern AZ tribes by cleaning up NGS emissions, honoring the US Treaty with the Navajo Nation of 1849 and 1868, the President’s Executive Order 13514, the DOI Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, the President’s Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, international laws on the right to development and human rights, and Dine’ Fundamental, Traditional and Customary law through the following initiatives:

1.   The US DOI, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Nevada Power shall begin installing SCR and bag houses on their share of NGS to meet BART regional haze and reasonable attribution provisions of the Clean Air Act within three years; and

2.  The US DOI, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Nevada Power shall redesign the existing generation and transmission infrastructure to accommodate renewal energy projects such as Black Mesa Water Coalition’s recommendation to convert strip-mined areas on Black Mesa to solar generation, locating solar generation near transmission lines on Navajo and Hopi lands, and covering the CAP canal/corridor with PV; and

3.  The US DOI, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Nevada Power shall redesign existing water siphon in Lake Powell, electric railroad corridor to Black Mesa, and abandoned slurry pipeline route for reuse as a water supply system to meet existing needs of western Navajo and Hopi communities; and

4.  The US DOI, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Nevada Power shall assist in financing capital costs by addition to the CAP loan, extending the time allowed to repay the loan, and generating revenues for Hopi and Navajo economic development from a sale of “peaking power” from solar generating plants; and

5. The US DOI, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Nevada Power shall explore other revenue generating possibilities such as selling NGS SO2 and NO2 pollution credits and creative ways to market the CO2 not emitted by NGS and CO2 sequestered in the un-mined coal within Black Mesa; and

6.  The US DOI shall commit to reduce DOI’s 24.3% share of NGS air pollution to meet BART within three years and conduct an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of air and water quality that affects the public health of Navajo Nation citizens and non-Navajo citizens, the socio-economic impacts, the environmental, cultural, and traditional cultural use impacts of continued pollution by NGS and PWCC; and

7.  The US DOI, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Nevada Power shall examine the costs and benefits of the plant’s future favored the phasing out of existing coal plants over retrofitting them with scrubber technology; and

8. The US DOI, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Nevada Power shall commit to eliminating coal use and implementing on-site renewal energy projects at the NGS site by 2020 in compliance with the President’s Executive Order 13514, [13] the DOI Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that committed the agency to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 for emission sources that DOI owns, controls, or purchases [14] and  the President’s Executive Order 12898 [15] to ensure inclusion of affected people and consideration of impacts on indigenous lifestyles and economies, and other disruptions of existing indigenous property and cultural practices.

Certification

I hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was adopted at a meeting of Forgotten People held on the 31st day of January, 2011, at which a quorum was present that the same was adopted by a vote of 43 in favor, -0- opposed, and -0- abstaining.

Motion:  Joe Klain________________          Seconded: Debbie Yazzie____________

Don Yellowman, President                             Joe Klain, Vice-President

Robert Begay, Sr. Board of Director              Caroline Tohannie, Board of Director

Copy: US Environmental Protection Agency

Footnotes:

[1] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Navajo_Generating_Station

[2] 4/18/2010 The Great US Coal Disaster http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=10045

[3] 10/18/99  Peabody Workers’ testimonies to OSM, “Health and Relocation Effects by Peabody Coal Company”

[4] Christian Science Monitor archives

[5] 8/1999, Letter from a Coal Miner to Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

[6] http://www.economist.com/node/18010727?story_id=18010727

[7]7/23/2009, Central Arizona Project.  The Navajo Generating Station White Paper

[8] www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/EGM_cs08_Smith.doc

[9] http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2010/world/power-plant-that-moves-torrent-of-water-uphill-considers-closing/

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Mead

[11] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Climate_impacts_of_coal_plants

[12] http://azdailysun.com/news/local/article_4da48786-38c9-5fba-a8f7-209b3cf4604f.html

[13] http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/sustainability

[14] http://www.fedcenter.gov/_kd/Items/actions.cfm?action=Show&item_id=16146&destination=ShowItem

[15] http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/pdf/12898.pdf