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Environmental groups, NTUA urge Nabi to retire NGS

Environmental groups, NTUA urge Nabi to retire NGS

TSE BONITO, N.M.

For the decades that Navajo Generating Station has been in operation in Lechee, Arizona, there has been no data collected on the health impacts of burning fossil fuel on Navajo workers, and the Navajo people who live close to the plant.

Adella Begaye, Diné CARE president, believes there are two reasons for this: to keep a good relationship with the mining company, and the Nation not wanting to pay for studies to be done.

“There is no health studies done on Navajo land related to health issues from fossil fuel,” said Begaye. “A lot has to do with money. Navajo Nation has been getting royalty monies from all these extractive energy … they have been afraid to rock the boat. The other reason: lack of funds for research.”

Working on getting this type of data from Indian Health Services shouldn’t be a hindrance if the Navajo Nation asks for studies. But, since Diné CARE is an organization and not a branch of government, it’s been impossible for them to acquire any information on this, Begaye said.

The only piece of data that Diné CARE was able to dig up was a 2011 study by the Clean Air Task Force on how surface mining and working in power plants impacts health. The study states the health impacts NGS has had on it workers, including specific incidents and the costs associated with them.

The study had listed 16 deaths costing total of $120 million; 25 heart attacks costing $2,800; 300 asthma attacks costing $16,000; 12 hospital admissions costing $270,000; 11 cases of chronic bronchitis costing $4,700; and 15 asthma ER visits costing $5,000.

Begaye’s group is just one of three organizations who oppose the continuation of Navajo Generating Station, and to present to the Naabik’iyati Committee during a March 7 work session. Others groups that presented were Tó Nizhóní Ani and Black Mesa Water Coalition.


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About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.