I am appealing to our Diné people to contact their council delegates who are making laws for us. Specifically, Speaker LoRenzo Bates, who is the lead person working lock, stock and barrel with Salt River Project on the future of the Navajo Generating Station.
First and foremost, we don’t need Speaker Bates groveling to SRP in agreements signed.
The Navajo Nation is currently home to the largest coal-burning plant in the U.S. west, but the utility owners announced they are exiting the NGS well ahead of schedule. This is great news for anyone who has cringed at the thought of the half-billion tons of CO2 and other harmful pollutants the plant has spewed across our land and into our atmosphere since 1974.
Each day, 240 individual train carloads of coal are burned at NGS. A statistic like that is almost impossible to comprehend, so it helps to put that into perspective. NGS has burned that much coal per day since it opened more than 40 years ago.
It is now clear the cost to burn coal at NGS is more expensive than cleaner alternatives. Fortunately, this has been realized well before the scheduled retirement date in 2044 and the Navajo Nation and surrounding areas air, water, and land will all be better off because of it.
Choose to help, don’t turn away
In U.S. history, until 1865, many people enjoyed owning other people, holding them defenseless and at their mercy. When the owned people ran away, the full power of the police, even federal law, was used to hunt them down. The Runaway Slave Act of 1850 allowed bounty hunters to hunt ex-slaves through every state, and imposed severe fines on anyone who tried to help. Yet many people helped, with material and legal resources. Others were sympathetic, but didn’t help – they were afraid, or didn’t want to think about it.
Today, many undocumented immigrants have lived in the U.S. for decades, raising their families and working and living here with their heads down. Many people have taken advantage, since the people without papers will work for low wages, accept menial situations, and never complain. Some people treat these workers and neighbors well, as equals.
Our government now intends to hunt non-citizens aggressively, with all means. This may become massive, with round-ups and internment camps, or it may just drive people further into the shadows, to live in fear of having their families torn apart.
We who have known, or have employed people who don’t have documents should now make clear ethical decisions. Don’t turn your face away now. You can be a hunter, or someone who “doesn’t want to know about it,” or a helper. Some people will want a U.S.-style ethnic cleansing. Others will reach out to help people. Many will become involved in public – on both sides. Choose.
Clay Slate Jr.
Why are we unprepared for NGS closure?
Regarding the recent developments at NGS, it should not be a surprise or shock to all the partners, SRP, NGS, Peabody and the Navajo Nation of the closure of NGS. On Day One of the lease agreement in the 1960s, they all knew this day was coming.
Thus, in the lease agreement, a contingency plan should have been in place to address this closure. Now the focus is decommissioning the plant, re-training the workers, cleaning up all the contamination and restoring the damaged land from four decades of extraction.
Considering the SRP and the State of Arizona have benefitted immensely from the coal and water from our land, they cannot just walk away and leave the Navajo Nation to clean up their mess.
Currently, the NGS partners and Navajo Nation are acting as if there were no plans for the closure. This is unbelievable.
We ant our government to make a strong stand and ensure the Navajo Nation does not repeat the mistake that occurred with the Navajo Mine. I understand it is a failing enterprise as reported by an Arizona paper.
For the next two years, we the impacted communities want to participate in the mitigation of our land. After all it was because of our coal and water that thousands of Navajos were forcibly relocated, our aquifer is being depleted, we suffered many fraudulent and unjust acts by those in power.
Going forward the people of the impacted communities want clean energy. In that vein, we strongly urge our government to ensure the return of 50,000 AFY from the Colorado and the N Aquifer from Black Mesa upon lease expiration and also acquire the transmission line for energy development.
Furthermore, President Begaye must take a strong lead. He cannot be giving out conflicting messages such as in his recent press releases, where he is telling the administration we should have complete control over our resources and then he reverses himself asks Trump to keep the mine operating to 2044, thus waiving our sovereignty.
Lastly, the Navajo Nation president and council took a strong stand against desecration of religious sites and protection of the water in Oak Flat and Standing Rock. We want the same unwavering support here at home.
Big Mountain, Ariz.