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

9 Thoughts on “Forgotten People meets with Navajo Generating Station owners

  1. Jim Wagoner, News Director--Lake Powell Communications on February 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm said:

    I would like to do a radio interview with a spokesperson from your group. My cell # is: (303) 957-6185.

    • forgottenpeople on February 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm said:

      Dear Jim,

      Great! I have your personal cell number.

      On Thursday, 2/17/2011, Forgotten People will meet at Glenna Begay’s residence 12:00 – 2:00 PM in Black Mesa by Peabody Coal Company for a meeting with Navajo Generating Station owners and Peabody.

      I wonder if we can call you after/during the meeting while I am in Black Mesa. This way you can speak with some of the local residents.

      Otherwise, how about Monday afternoon when Don Yellowman, President and I can speak with you.

      Tomorrow, Wednesday, 2/16/2011, and Friday, 2/18/2011, we will be in Black Falls with Pastors distributing personal hygiene supplies and deliver safe drinking water to people in our emergency service area. For over 40 years, people in this region have been drinking uranium and arsenic contaminated water, living in the former Bennett Freeze, denied all infrastructure, home construction, repair, etc.

      Look forward to confirmation of a date and time.

      Yours sincerely,
      Marsha Monestersky
      Program Director
      Forgotten People
      (928) 401-1777
      http://www.forgottennavajopeople.org

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