Category Archives: Navajo Generating Station

Navajo Nation Presidential Town Hall Meetings

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7/19/2011 Gallup Independent: Peabody lease concerns include coal, water royalties

7/19/2011 Gallup Independent: Peabody lease concerns include coal, water royalties By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau: WINDOW ROCK – There’s a first time for everything, and having sponsors of the Peabody 2007 “reopener” resolution sitting on both sides of the fence, expounding on the pros and cons, was a first for the Nabiki’yati Committee, which includes members of former Navajo Nation Councils. Delegate Roscoe Smith, prime sponsor and vice chair of the Resources and Development Committee, presented the basic terms, which have been stated time and again since the resolution started coming before Council several years ago. The Navajo Nation Council will consider the resolution this week during its summer session.

Smith said the reopener issues include coal royalty rates of 12.5 percent for lease 8580 for coal owned exclusively by the Navajo Nation and 6.25 percent for coal co-owned with the Hopi Tribe in the Joint Use Area. This represents $3.5 million per year to the Nation over a 10-year period, a $1.55 million signing bonus, and an increase in scholarship money.

“Some of you have heard this so many times that it looks like a broken record every time you come … and every time it comes, different issues come into play,” Akhtar Zaman, director of Navajo Nation Minerals Department, told the committee during last week’s presentation. After lengthy discussion, the committee voted in favor, 9-6.

Delegate Dwight Witherspoon, who represents affected residents in the Black Mesa area, referred to a Peabody news release stating that the company had record revenues in the past year of $6.86 billion. The only difference in the reopener and the negotiations 13 years ago is there is additional scholarship money and the signing bonus, he said. “That doesn’t seem equitable or reasonable that this would be sufficient.”

Speaking to the revenue the Nation has received over the last five years, he said that in 2006 the royalty was $31.1 million; in 2007, $22.4 million; in 2008, $29.52 million; in 2009, $20.1 million and in 2010, $21.2 million – or in the last five years, a total of $124.5 million. “The last three years, the Council has not approved the same essential lease reopener for reasons,” he said.

“Basically, you can ask 100 percent royalty,” Zaman said, but “everything has a limit. “The Navajo Nation has failed in each and every litigation, including arbitration. If you want to go through that road again, you can try it.”

According to the lease, water royalties must be negotiated separately 30 days after the coal portion is approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and within 120 days. Peabody uses approximately 1,200 acre-feet per year, down from the 4,400 acre-feet it used on average before 2006 when Mohave Generating Station was operating and coal was slurried through a 127-mile pipeline to the plant in Nevada.

When the operation first began, Peabody paid $5 per acre-foot for water. “The average rate today comes to $471 per acre-foot,” Zaman said. In comparison, Sithe Global would have paid around $1,000 per acre-foot if the Desert Rock plant had gone on-line.

Zaman said that if the current rate Peabody pays were doubled, “it is not going to be a significant amount; and if you triple it, still it is not because the total volume is reduced.” If tripled, the total payment is $1.5 million, he said, and if doubled, nearly $1 million. There was no mention of Peabody possibly increasing its water use through 2017, when the terms of the reopener end.

Witherspoon said there is a concern about the water royalty now being paid. In 2006 Peabody used 1,199 acre-feet and paid $1.48 million. From 2007 through 2010 “they basically used around the same amount, however, the amount of revenue was significantly different – close to about a half million dollars each,” he said. In 2007, it was $498,000; 2008 was $509,000; 2009 was $577,000; 2010 was $552,000.

Nicole Horseherder and her husband Marshall Johnson, who represent the Black Mesa group To Nizhoni Ani, were allowed to present their concerns with the reopener, along with Tully Haswood and Milton Bluehouse Sr., of the grassroots group, Hadaa’sidi.

“My concern is that the legislation as it sits right now, there’s no change in the royalty rate. It stays at 12.5 percent. It has been the same since 1987. …. I would like to bring to your attention, right now as we’re speaking, there is a case in federal district court in which the Navajo Nation’s position is 20 percent,” Horseherder said. “I don’t understand the inconsistency in that.”

She recommended the Navajo Nation Council remain consistent and assert the 20 percent. She also pointed out that it is a huge cost to Navajo to have the case sitting in court asserting 20 percent, yet they are in Window Rock about to approve a recommendation of 12.5 percent.

Johnson said he brought 14 chapter resolutions seeking a better lease agreement and also an end to N-aquifer pumping “because we know there is no bond. All other mine operations have a regulation bond. The state of Arizona has a groundwater law that is not being observed on the mine operation on Black Mesa. Water is the bottom line.”

Navajo water is used to supply Phoenix and Tucson. They have economic activity in the Phoenix area of over $190 billion yearly and in Tucson, $34 billion, he said. “Compare that to us. … When are we going to have some economic activity to benefit the people of the Navajo Nation? Here is an opportunity to better seek economic justice.”

Haswood referred to a U.S. Supreme Court decision of April 6, 2009, which states that the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Navajo Area issued an opinion letter imposing a new rate of 20 percent of gross proceeds. “But Peabody filed an administrative appeal and while it was pending, the tribe and the company reached a negotiated agreement to set a rate of 12.5 percent of gross proceeds instead. As a result, the area director’s decision was vacated, the administrative appeal was dismissed, and the Secretary approved the amendments to the lease.”

The opinion also stated that the Indian Mineral Leasing Act gave the Secretary of the Interior not a “comprehensive managerial role,” but only the power to approve coal leases already negotiated by tribes, he said.

Navajo Nation Attorney General Harrison Tsosie said the current royalty rate reopener is not connected to the litigation over the adjustment of the 1987 royalty rate. “They are two different activities. The case against Peabody, Southern California Edison and other groups is an allegation that we should have received 20 percent rather than 12.5 percent.

“The difficulty in that is ultimately the Navajo Nation did settle for 12.5 percent. We don’t know in the end whether the Secretary of the Interior would have approved the 20 percent. They never reached that point of the decision-making process.” That litigation is ongoing and the parties are in the final settlement stages. Tsosie said they hope to sign the settlement this month.

In a very short time the Nation also has to deal with renewal of the lease for Navajo Generating Station, which uses the coal from Peabody, Zaman said.

“If you want to reject this money, who is the winner? Peabody is the winner, Navajo Nation is the loser,” he said, because the lease limits Peabody to extracting 670 million tons and they have removed about 400 million. The lease allows Peabody to mine whether the reopener is approved or not.

Delegate Leonard Tsosie said George Vlassis was the Navajo Nation’s attorney when the lease was negotiated and Raymond Nakai was chairman. “Why Vlassis encouraged our chairman to sign a ‘forever’ lease, I don’t know. He was wrong.” Tsosie said the lease allows Peabody to continue, basically, until the coal runs out.

Delegate LoRenzo Bates asked whether the uranium provision in the Peabody lease was in conflict with the Dine Natural Resources Protection Act, which prohibits uranium mining and processing.

Rather than a legal opinion from the attorney general, Zaman said that as a technical person, he believes they would not see uranium mined in the lease area. “I don’t see any rationale.”

7/6/2011 Gallup Independent: Peabody coal royalty 'reopener' back Leases also reflect royalty rates for uranium

7/6/2011 Gallup Independent: Peabody coal royalty ‘reopener’ back Leases also reflect royalty rates for uranium By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau: WINDOW ROCK – The Resources and Development Committee approved an agreement Tuesday between the Navajo Nation and Peabody Western Coal Co. to amend the royalty rates for two mineral leases related to coal mining operations on Black Mesa. The Navajo Nation and Sentry Royalty Co. originally entered into Lease 8580 in 1964, and Lease 9910 in 1966. Peabody Western became the ultimate owner of Sentry’s interest in the two leases, which were amended in 1987 to provide for a “reopener” every 10 years to negotiate increased royalty rates. The next opportunity is 2017. “Every 10 years we can negotiate the royalty rate, but we were told that the (current) royalty rate is at the highest we can go,” Resources Chair Katherine Benally said. “The only thing that we really negotiate is for the scholarship, and just the re-signing of the agreement.”

In 1997, the last time there was an adjustment, the royalty rate for lease 8580, which is 100 percent Navajo-owned coal, stayed at 12.5 percent – the minimum rate set by Congress in 1977. The Nation’s royalty rate for lease 9910, which is split 50/50 with the Hopi Tribe, was 6.25 percent. The Nation received a $1 million signing bonus and an annual bonus payment of $3.5 million.

The 2007 royalty adjustment currently being debated, proposes the same 12.5 percent royalty rate for coal from the Kayenta Mine area, 6.25 percent for coal mined in the Navajo-Hopi Joint Use Area, a signing bonus of $1.55 million, an annual bonus of $3.5 million for 10 years, a scholarship increase from $124,000 to $167,000 for lease 8580; and an increase from $62,000 to $83,000 for lease 9910, according to Roscoe Smith, vice chair of the committee and sponsor of the resolution.

The terms are the same as those presented to the 21st Navajo Nation Council in 2009 and again in 2010. Both times Council turned down the proposed agreement. The resolution approved Tuesday moves next to the Nabiki’yati’ Committee, which met Thursday, and then on to the 22nd Council for consideration. Council begins its summer session July 18.

“You’re looking at $35 million over a 10 year period,” Smith said, after the amendments are approved by the Secretary of the Interior. The Hopi Tribe already has approved the royalty rate adjustments. Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, had 2010 revenues of nearly $7 billion.

Though Council has not brought it up during discussions on the lease reopener, one caveat of the original mining lease approved in 1966, the amended lease of 1987, and the lease amendment agreement of 1999, pertains to royalty rates for uranium ores mined and sold by the Lessee. Black Mesa basin has proven uranium deposits.

According to the agreements, if Peabody chose to mine uranium in its lease areas, it would be subject to paying the Nation a royalty rate provided for in the “Percentage Royalty Schedule” set nearly 56 years ago. The schedule is part of a resolution approved by the Advisory Committee of the Navajo Tribal Council dated Sept. 27, 1955.

Similar to the coal royalties, if either party is dissatisfied with the royalty rate for uranium, it can begin good faith negotiations to adjust it. If no agreement is reached within six months, the issue will be taken to arbitration. Uranium or gold/silver milling on the lease areas is prohibited, according to the agreements.

James W. Zion, an Albuquerque attorney who represents Navajo grassroots groups such as the Forgotten People and Hadaa’sidi, said the reference to uranium mining in the Peabody lease could be in conflict with the Dine Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005 which bans uranium mining and processing on the Navajo Nation.

“The question to be asked is whether the lease grandfathers in uranium mining,” Zion said.

The Navajo Nation currently is considering a draft energy policy which focuses primarily on coal. The draft policy supports the Nation’s ban on uranium mining but does not rule out the possibility of future uranium mining and nuclear energy generation.

7/1/2011 Navajo Nation Public Hearing on Energy Policy

Public comments on the Navajo Nation Energy policy are welcome through July 31st, and should be sent in writing to Michelle — michelle@navajonationmuseum.org. Navajo Nation Public Hearing on Energy Policy By Anthony Fleg, Native Health Initiative: The location for last night’s public hearing on the Navajo Nation’s proposed energy policy was fitting for political theatrics – held at the UNM Student Union Building’s theater, the stage was set for Navajo Nation officials to make their case for the energy policy as currently drafted. The document at the center of discussion was the draft of the Navajo Nation Energy Policy, completed June 20th, 2011 (see copy of draft here). The UNM meeting was the last of the public hearings on the policy, meetings meant to gather public input on the draft. The Attorney General for the Navajo Nation, Harrison Tsosie, reminded the audience that this document was not a law, regulation or statute. “Instead, this policy is to serve as a vision statement for Navajo leaders and for the outside world, to then guide future decisions and laws and to ensure that in the future the Federal Government is not deciding the direction of our Dine’ people.”

There have been four prior attempts to develop such an energy policy by the Navajo Nation, with the only document that made it past draft stage being the 1980 policy. The current administration, under President Ben Shelly has made energy policy a priority.

The document supports development of renewable energy, with Navajo Nation officials admitting that in the past years there has been no clear direction, and therefore, no significant strides in this realm.

Coal and uranium appear to be the biggest points of contention in the draft policy, judging from the audience members who spoke during the public response section of the hearing.

In terms of coal, the current draft supports a coal-driven energy future for the Navajo Nation, stating, “The Nation will plan for a future that includes coal as a key component of the Nation’s energy mix…[and] will seek to shape federal fossil fuel regulation.” (Section 7)

Mario Atencio of Dine’ CARE (Coalition Against Ruining our Environment) stated that coal has no place in the energy future of the Navajo Nation, adding that he was concerned that the Navajo Green Energy Commission was not included in the drafting of the policy.

Juan Reynosa of the Sierra Club, following Mario to the microphone, seconded the opinion. “This is our opportunity to transition away from coal, switching to renewable resources. Juan talked about his work to push for tighter regulations on the Four Corners Power Plant, pointing out the un-tapped potential that wind and solar energy have in this region.

Nuclear energy and uranium is also addressed in the document with a recognition of the current ban on uranium mining that the Navajo Nation has adopted. “The Navajo Nation, nonetheless will continue to monitor uranium mining technologies and techniques…to assess the safety, viability, and potential of these activities for the future.” (Section 9).

Norman Patrick Brown of the Dine’ Bidziil (The People’s Strength) stated simply, “I don’t trust this policy. Our past shows us that energy infrastructure has been devastating to our land, our health and our way of life.” He said that from a traditional perspective, talking to Medicine Men, “I have yet to meet one person who supports any extraction from our Mother Earth of these materials.”

Additionally, there was obvious concern about those who spoke from the audience about the transparency of the process to create the draft, and at this point, the process of allowing public input to affect the final version of the document. A writer from the Navajo Times asked a pointed question to this later point – “How do you plan to share the public’s thoughts from these meetings that have been held?” Translating the answer from politico speak, it appears that the comments and written testimony will be compiled and made available on the Navajo Nation website. I could not find the policy or comments on the Navajo Nation website at the time of this article.

Public comments on the policy are welcome through July 31st, and should be sent in writing to Michelle — michelle@navajonationmuseum.org.

6/20/2011 DRAFT Navajo Nation Energy Policy-Please submit comments

Please check out the Navajo Nation DRAFT Energy Policy. The Navajo Nation believes coal and coal-fired plants are a significant component of the Navajo economy and the Nation’s revenues. Please send comments to michelle@navajonationmuseum.org . The draft Navajo Nation energy policy is available for download at www.navajo-nsn.gov

6/28/2011 Gallup Independent: Coal key part of Navajo draft energy policy

6/28/2011 Gallup Independent: Coal key part of Navajo draft energy policy By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau NEHAHNEZAD, N.M – The Navajo Nation has unveiled a draft energy policy that includes coal as a key component of the Nation’s energy mix while not closing the door to future uranium mining and nuclear power. Members of Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly’s Energy Advisory Committee unveiled the draft energy policy June 22 at Nenahnezad Chapter. A public meeting is set for 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at Howard Johnson in Gallup, and 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the UNM Student Union, SUB Theater, in Albuquerque. Additional public meetings were held last week in Shonto, Cameron and Phoenix. “We have an energy policy that was adopted by the Navajo Nation Council in 1980 and then from that period of time there have been various policies that have been developed by different administrations,” Attorney General Harrison Tsosie said. “Some of those policies were presented to the Navajo Nation Council but never approved.” The new draft also will be presented to Council and if adopted, Shelly’s initiative will be the framework for future Navajo energy development.

“We think this is important. It’s the livelihood of the Navajo Nation,” Fred White, executive director of the Division of Natural Resources, said.

Coal and coal-fired plants are a significant component of the Navajo economy and the Nation’s revenues, according to the draft. As a coal producer that derives a significant amount of royalties, rent, fees, jobs and tax revenue from coal mining and production of electricity from coal, the Nation will seek to shape federal fossil fuel legislation and adapt to the new federal regulatory environment, it states.

In addition, Navajo will support newer and more efficient coal technologies being developed which lessen environmental impacts and maximize the efficient use of Navajo coal. The Nation also will continue to develop a renewable portfolio of power generating facilities that balances coal-fired generation and renewable energy generation, and will evaluate the appropriateness of implementing a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.

Section 9, on nuclear matters, states that the Nation currently supports a ban on uranium mining in Navajo Indian Country. “The Nation nonetheless will continue to monitor uranium mining technologies and techniques, as well as market conditions for uranium mining and nuclear electricity generation to assess the safety, viability and potential of these activities for the future.”

Michele Morris, Shelly’s director for Policy and Management, said, “Right now we are not entertaining any new development in uranium. President Shelly and Vice President (Rex Lee) Jim’s priority for the administration currently is to comply with our existing law, which is the moratorium on uranium mining. Our goal is to comply with that until the public or the Council – the bodies that be – make the decision to change that decision.”

The Navajo Nation approved the Dine Natural Resources Protection Act in 2005 banning uranium mining and processing within reservation borders. Nearly 4 million tons of uranium ore was extracted from 1944 to 1986 under lease agreements with the Navajo Nation. In 2007, with the help of a congressional committee, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency became the lead federal agency in a five-year plan to clean up more than 500 abandoned uranium mines, contaminated groundwater and structures, and a former radioactive dump site. Emergency cleanup action has begun at three abandoned mines while assessments continue.

The draft energy policy calls for the Nation to establish energy corridors to manage the impact on Navajo communities resulting from future electrical transmission, pipeline and railroad infrastructure. This new infrastructure will provide Navajo an opportunity to unlock the value of its vast energy resources by providing transmission corridors to metropolitan centers.

A Navajo Energy Office made up of Executive Branch officials selected by the president is proposed to be established to act as a clearinghouse for energy-related projects and to facilitate energy development. A budget also must be appropriated.

White said that that last spring the Nation decided to re-energize the energy policy planning process. In partnership with the Department of Energy, an Energy Efficiency grant was obtained and a scope of work developed. Sandia National Laboratory was asked to facilitate meetings with stakeholders. Meetings were held in July, September and October with industries focused on fossil fuels and renewables, as well as Navajo leaders and individuals concerned about the environment.

A chronological order of energy decisions dating to 1923-24 as developed. They looked at work done in the 1970s that resulted in an Energy Policy adopted by the tribal Council in 1980, work done by former President Peterson Zah in the early 1990s that resulted in an energy policy statement, and work done by White’s predecessor, Arvin Trujillo.

But last October they hit a wall, bogged down by election year politics. “Nobody was interested in talking about energy policy,” White said. It was put on hold until the new administration and the 24-member Council settled in.

“The decision was to take the policy from the ’80s that was already adopted by Council and use that format and make amendments to it,” White said.

Steven Gundersen of Tallsalt Advisors in Scottsdale is serving as a consultant on development of the policy. Gundersen presented the draft to a small but curious audience at Nenahnezad, some of whom drove at least four hours from Cameron to hear the presentation.

“The policies are intended to be rather brief and rather broad,” he said. “The energy policies are directions we want to move in but are not laws.”

Tsosie said comments received from the public are “suggestions” that will be reviewed but not necessarily included in the document. “The reason for that is that the Navajo people elected certain representatives to establish policy for them and that body is the Navajo Nation Council and the president of the Navajo Nation. So this policy-setting effort is under delegation from the people to those elected officials.

“We are drafting the policy pursuant to those delegations. We’re not actually making laws. These will not be codified in the Navajo Nation Code, but it’s a document that we will use in making decisions regarding energy development on the Navajo Nation,” he said. Council first must rescind the 1980 Energy Policy.

Citing the preamble to the proposed policy, Gundersen said the Nation is establishing the energy policy to protect its natural resources and assets for the benefit of the Dine to create a self-sustaining economic future and to ensure sovereign control over the extraction and flow of resources.

Lease rent, royalty rates and charges for easements and rights of way will be equal to or greater than fair market value. When negotiating renewals, the Nation will maximize the total value of consideration. Project developers will be required to return the land to its original condition, or better, at the end of the project.

The Nation hopes to maximize revenues from large-scale energy developments by promoting Navajo majority ownership, but may designate an entity such as Navajo Tribal Utility Authority as its representative. Communities impacted by energy development will have the opportunity to provide input, and where adversely impacted, to share in a portion of the financial benefits of such projects.

Members of the Energy Advisory Committee include White, Tsosie, Raymond Benally, Stephen B. Etsitty, Martin Ashley, Akhtar Zaman, Albert Damon, Raymond Maxx, Mike Halona and Irma Roanhorse. Michele Henry is the administrator for the Energy Advisory Committee and Energy Office.

Deadline for comment originally was scheduled for July 15, but Morris said they are adding four town hall meetings and extending the comment period to the end of July. There is no deadline mentioned in the announcement from the Navajo Energy Office and no schedule posted on the new meetings. Comments may be sent to michelle@navajonationmuseum.org . The policy is available for download at www.navajo-nsn.gov .

5/20/2011 AP: Navajo coal plant focus of congressional hearing

5/20/2011 Navajo coal plant focus of congressional hearing by FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press: FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The fate of a coal-fired power plant that provides hundreds of jobs to American Indians, yet spews tons of emissions that cloud the view at the Grand Canyon and other parks, is uncertain. The Navajo Generating Station in Page serves as an economic engine that ensures water and power demands are met in major metropolitan areas. Conservationists see it as a health and environmental hazard and want to wean the plant off its reliance to coal in favor of renewable energy. A factor in whether the more than 40-year-old plant survives is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates power plants on tribal lands. The agency is deciding whether to issue pollution controls this summer for the plant, which is one of the biggest sources of nitrogen oxide emissions in the country.

“Our job is to decide, ‘Are the parks adequately protected?'” said Colleen McKaughan, associate director of the EPA’s air division in San Francisco. “And if they’re not, does the facility need additional pollution controls?”

The role of the plant also has become the focus of a congressional hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C., that came at the request of Republican Reps. Trent Franks and Paul Gosar, who represent the Hopi and Navajo tribes, respectively. They say requiring pollution controls would force the plant to close and devastate the tribal communities that rely on the jobs and revenue from coal that feeds the plant.

“This is a way to highlight the impact that it is having and the lack of commonsense that’s being adjudicated when we’re talking about coal-fired plants,” Gosar said.

Environmentalists see the hearing as a coordinated attack on the EPA and say the plant’s owners are creating unnecessary alarm with their doom-and-gloom predictions over the EPA’s actions.

Nitrogen oxide is only a small part of the issue, and the future could bring regulations for mercury and carbon dioxide, said Vernon Masayesva, a Hopi and director of the Black Mesa Trust.

“We should not put our energies into fighting over a visibility issue,” said Masayesva, who’s scheduled to testify Tuesday. “In doing so, we’re dividing the Navajo people.”

The 2,250-megawatt power plant began producing electricity in 1974 and is supplied by coal from Peabody Energy’s Kayenta Mine. Some 1,000 people are employed at the power plant and mine combined, with the majority being American Indians.

The plant’s owners are trying to stave off the EPA’s proposals to give themselves more time to secure lease extensions and right-of-way grants that begin expiring in 2019.

They contend that a $45 million upgrade of the three 750-megawatt units at the plant, which will include burners that reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 40 percent, or 14,000 tons per year, should be sufficient to help clear up the haze at the Grand Canyon. Further upgrades could cost $1.1 billion, they say.

“That puts the owners in a situation where we’re being asked to make a significant investment with a lot of uncertainty over whether the plant would be able to operate long enough to recover that investment,” said Glen Reeves, manager of power generation for the Salt River Project, which operates the plant. “That’s the tenuous situation we’re in.”

The EPA must consider the best available retrofit technology, or BART, for reducing such emissions, which are expensive selective catalytic converters. If the EPA goes that route, it would set the plant’s owners on a timeline to install the pollution controls.

“We’re definitely for the most stringent air quality measures that can be had,” said Andy Bessler of the Sierra Club. “That’s what BART stands for.”

For some, the current situation brings back memories of the Mohave Generating Station, which shut down in 2006 because it needed pollution-control upgrades to comply with a 199 Clean Air Act settlement, a new water supply and pipeline upgrades costing $1.1 billion.

But SRP officials say the effects of shutting down Navajo Generating Station would have a farther reach. The power plant provides energy to deliver water from the Colorado River to Tucson and Phoenix through a series of canals.

Those interested in what becomes of Navajo Generating Station began meeting in January in an effort to come to an agreement on its future. The plan was to give the EPA a proposal by March that the agency could consider in making a decision on pollution controls, but that didn’t happen.

At least one Navajo environmental group pulled out of the discussions because it said the talks were a tactic to keep the power plant running and stall the EPA’s actions. Similar groups are pushing a 10-year transition to renewable energy.

“That’s a win-win right there,” Masayesva said.

The plant’s owners have said they would support a study to see if that’s feasible.

Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/business/article/Navajo-coal-plant-focus-of-congressional-hearing-1388913.php#ixzz1N0AfS0lI

Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/business/article/Navajo-coal-plant-focus-of-congressional-hearing-1388913.php#ixzz1N0AWlt7V

Forgotten People pull out of Navajo Generating Station (NGS) EN3 meetings

http://en3pro.com/ Forgotten People pull out Friday, March 18th, 2011: Forgotten People decided after much thought and discussion to join all the grassroots and environmental organizations pulling out of the NGS EN3 process. Instead, we will all spend Friday, March 25th together to discuss our next steps to ensure US EPA Clean Air, BART compliance and a transition to renewable energy. Forgotten People does not want to be used as a “checklist” for community input to stall US EPA BART regulations. As directly affected people we see NO real timeline for a transition to renewable energy on the table, NO serious community input in your processes, no series of community tours to allow real input, NO response to our United Nations case submitted 3/1/2011 for the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation…

From the beginning of our participation in this process, we have clearly stated our goal and objective for a transition time line to clean energy.

Unfortunately what we see is a process that seeks to keep the NGS running and stall US EPA Clean Air regs. What the NGS owners and stakeholders will miss seeing first hand on a community tour is significant: Coal dust over Black Mesa, desecrated cemeteries, burial and sacred site desecration, open graves marked by archeologists stakes, people who do not know where their family members are buried in areas that were mined, dismantled wells, water sources degraded and diminished like sacred Sagebrush Spring, people living without electricity and piped water, and impassable, ungraded dirt roads that Peabody refused to grade under a Navajo Nation State of Emergency. It is for these reasons that the people cannot afford to be used to keep the NGS operating. We strongly believe the time for burning fossil fuels is coming to an end and it is time to consider the health of the people and the environment.

Please check out Forgotten People’s case submitted to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 3/1/2011.

scribd.com Scribd.com Scribd is the world’s largest social reading and publishing site.

Please check out Forgotten People’s PowerPoint Presentation on the NGS website: Forgotten People and NGS – Securing Economic & Climate Justice

Forgotten People NGS PowerPoint Presentation link.

Please check out the US EPA News Release: EPA Proposes First National Standard for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants / Mercury and air toxics standards represent one of strongest health protections from air pollution since passage of Clean Air Act

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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