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Letters | Subsidize wind, solar – not phony “green” hydrogen

If it weren’t so dangerous to Mother Earth and harmful to Navajo and Pueblo people around Prewitt, it might almost be funny.

The major investor betting on reopening the Escalante coal plant for hydrogen manufacture is an out-of-state company named Tallgrass Energy LP.

We used to have tall grass in the Four Corners. Buffalo roamed here before settler colonizers slaughtered them to starve us into surrender. The meadows they fed on were full of grass so tall my grandma remembers the grass stood as high as her knees.

But after 140 years of being an unofficial and then official “energy sacrifice zone” where coal, uranium and oil and gas have been extracted, with little regulation in an ongoing industrial orgy that’s brought drought and warming, we don’t see grass waving much in the breeze in McKinley County.

From before New Mexico was even a state, we learned the hard and dusty way: If someone’s exploiting the land, they’re 100% going to be exploiting the people on the land.

Bill Moler, Tallgrass’ CEO, is reported to be worth over $42 million, making more than $6 million in 2019 alone.

By comparison, our economic reality isn’t just funny, it’s absurd. Our people live near transmission lines but have no electricity or running water. Many chop wood for heat and cooking; they suffer ailments, debilitating and deadly, from exposure to elements and chemicals used to force minerals to the surface.

Somehow, we’ve survived the statewide economic convulsions, more busts than booms in my lifetime. On the east side of Gallup, where I grew up, you can still smell the stench of gas in the mornings.

Hydrogen is made with gas. Greening it requires more energy (and water) than it generates — pretending otherwise is a strategic dead end.

Except for a few of our government leaders who live in mansions and drive late model cars, we’ve been left with nothing from these kinds of lies. So, we can’t really dignify this new chorus in the same old “clean” and “green” genocidal song and dance that soft sells deadly technologies that spew carbon and methane into our already overheated atmosphere, as anything other than an attempt to prolong our state of struggle.

In pandemic times, it should be common sense to provide communities with everything that they need to sustain themselves: Clean water, land, housing, and education. In my community, we don’t have any of that. We will not be misled again.

Deep in the wells of our shared humanity, where accumulation of money matters not at all, we believe Bill Moler and his partners know there’s no more time to waste, that the bill for rationalizing uses for the very fuels of death and decay our medicine men have warned us against is already in arrears.

It’s a delusion to think our lands exist to be carved up any way they want. Only we know what’s good for us, and what’s bad for us. The Escalante hydrogen project, like the governor’s proposed Hydrogen Hub Act, is a sharp wrong turn to the future, and must be halted.

Years from now the generations are going to speak of us and what we did to slay the monsters of our time. Our actions will answer for us.

The indigenous people of northern New Mexico are not a vein that profit addicts can poke when they need an infusion of fresh blood, but millions in tax subsidies tempt them into self-destruction, even as our climate anxiety grows.

Legislators: Please vote no against the governor’s Hydrogen Hub.

Krystal Curley
Chichiltah, N.M.

Who will give us a better economy?

We enter 2022 with the knowledge that the Navajo Nation election season is upon us. In it, the Navajo voter should hold our Navajo candidates to one simple question: What will you do to give us a better economy?

Three years ago, many of the candidates won on a platform of increased economic development and in their first action shut down the Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine.

What will their promises be now? What will we ask? Before you answer that, allow me to provide some basic information for comparison purposes.

We always say that Navajo Nation land is about the size of West Virginia and larger than some states in the USA. In population, the last numbers I heard regarding Navajo Nation enrollment numbers was very close to 400,000. The state of Wyoming has a population of approximately 580,000. Arizona numbers about 7.2 million and New Mexico is 2.1 million in population.

Now I will share some information on the gross domestic product (GDP) growth for several states and compare them to the Navajo Nation. This information comes from a recent Forbes magazine article written by Andrew DePietro in the Aug. 4, 2021, edition.

Gross domestic product is defined as the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year. That means each state can view their numbers and compare with other states to see how they fare against others. Who is doing better economically?

In the Forbes article, the author ranked the 50 states. Here is where the Four Corner states ranked, according to the article: No. 1 Utah (GDP had 19% growth in last 5 years, GDP grew 82% since 2000 from $92 billion to $169 billion in 2020); No. 4 Colorado (GDP growth from $232 billion in 2000 to $351 billion in 2020); No. 5 Arizona (GDP grew 54 percent from $207 billion in 2000 to $334 billion in 2021); and No. 28 New Mexico (GDP average GDP was $95 billion and in 2021 the GDP was $97 billion).

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the states of Utah, Arizona and Colorado still managed to maintain or increase their GDP growth. The state of Wyoming saw their GDP increase from $36 billion to $37 billion in 2021.

What about Navajo Nation? I could not find any information – none!

Three of the four states that border the Navajo Nation ranked in the top five states with the best GDP growth in the United States. I could not find any economic numbers for the Navajo Nation.

Ask your Navajo Nation delegate, president, or vice president what they are doing for the Navajo Nation economy. We, as voters, should be able to Google “Navajo Nation GDP” or “Navajo Nation economy” and find some numbers to measure if they have done their job for the Navajo people.

Did they create jobs? Or increase revenue? We have a right to ask for more jobs and a better economy. And our votes should speak to that.

Have they replaced the lost jobs from NGS and Kayenta Mine? No. Although I did see a couple of new Starbucks locations in Kayenta, Tuba City, and Chinle.

The Navajo Nation Council’s winter session will begin next week and the reports from the president and speaker will be provided to the people.

How will Navajo Nation leadership increase the Navajo Nation’s GDP? COVID-19 didn’t stop those economies, but it halted the Navajo Nation economy. That was a President Nez decision.

What about the two years before that? What were they doing?

Almost forgot. The comparison with West Virginia, since we always say Navajo Nation is the size of West Virginia, the average GDP for West Virginia is $68 billion and in 2021 the GDP was $70 billion. Navajo Nation? Could not find that information.

The population of the Navajo Nation deserves a great economy. Folks outside the Navajo Nation are enjoying the fruits of an increasing GDP.

The Navajo people deserve leaders that value a great economy with good paying jobs and revenue and leadership should be able to show that they are actively moving in that direction with tangible results.

What kind of Navajo Nation leader do you want?

Jarvis Williams
Kayenta, Ariz.


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