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Hard Rock ready for mine, plant to close

Hard Rock ready for mine, plant to close

HARD ROCK, Ariz.

After 50 years of fighting Peabody Western Coal Co. and the effects of relocation, residents of Dzil Lizhiin are ready to “take our armor off,” as one woman put it.

Of the 35 or so people who spoke before 3 p.m. at a town hall meeting at Hard Rock Chapter last Friday, only five men came out in favor of keeping the Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Coal Mine open — and all of them worked at the mine. Residents spoke of depleted springs, respiratory problems, coal ash falling “like snow” from the smokestacks of NGS.

“We’ve carried this Nation on our backs for 50 years,” said Germaine Simonson, a local entrepreneur. “What did we get? There’s nothing out here. We want to take our armor off.”

“I’m the one that’s signing your checks,” said Mary Katherine Smith, a relocation resister living on the Hopi Partitioned Land. “But yet I live without electricity and running water.”

Others said they feared the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, if it takes over the plant and mine, will have to raid the Permanent Trust Fund to cover the cost of reclaiming the land, since the plant’s operator, Salt River Project, has insisted the Navajo Nation guarantee the cleanup cost.


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About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.