Friday, October 2, 2009

Indians to Environmentalists: Get Lost

The Durango Herald News has an article today about the Hopi Indians and the environmentalists.

Although Indian tribes and environmentalists have worked together sometimes on issues, coal is not one of them. The tribes have a plentiful coal source and sell it to power companies with coal-fired plants. The environmentalists oppose the use of coal in favor of other sources such as wind and solar.

"Environmentalists are good at identifying problems but poor at identifying feasible solutions," said Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. in a news release. "Most often they don't try to work with us but against us, giving aid and comfort to those opposed to the sovereign decision-making of tribes."

On the Hopi reservation, revenues from coal mined by Peabody Energy in northern Arizona's Black Mesa area make up 70 percent of the tribe's $15 million budget. On the Navajo Nation, those revenues make up nearly 10 percent of the tribe's budget.

In 2006, environmentalists successfully forced the shutdown of the Mohave Generating Station on the Arizona-Nevada border - the only other customer for the tribes' coal - when the owner failed to install pollution-control upgrades as required by a settlement with environmentalists.

"The tribe is still reeling from that," said Hopi legal counsel Scott Canty. "To talk about taking the remaining revenues away is just unfathomable. It would just set them back tremendously."

You can find the original article here.

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