Twin Arrows, Ariz. – Local families and activist, posted a protest sign this week, coinciding with potential Naabik’iyati Committee’s consideration of legislation related to the Navajo Generating Station.
“It’s our Indigenous response to ending the continued genocide of our people living in sacrifice zones, under the clouds of pollution from these extractive energy companies,” said Remy, an art activist. “It’s about consumption, greed and who ultimately pays the cost. The art illustrates the end of corporate welfare and the end of a one-way flow of benefits to the utility customers for nearly 50 years.”
News of the Nation preparing to purchase the coal plant is raising alarms since it would put Navajo families’ economic future in serious jeopardy. Approval of policies related to NGS would have enormous implications on the future of the Nation, and local families are demanding that such decisions be made with careful consideration of concerns from local communities.
“The Navajo Nation stands to lose enormously if the Council votes to purchase NGS, and especially if the current lame duck session of the Council rubber stamps hasty and reckless policies,” said Nicole Horseherder, of Tó Nizhóní Ání. “Local concerns should be taken up for consideration by chapter houses, and reviewed by local communities, given that they would be directly affected by the decisions made on the future of NGS for decades to come.”
Purchasing NGS would be a serious deviation from the agreement currently in place with SRP to close the coal plant, and as such the Nation could lose hundreds of millions of revenue funds and assets already secured for Navajos in the negotiated agreement. The purchase of NGS could also mean loss of valuable access to transmission lines to help with a transition to clean renewable energy, it would jeopardize water rights secured, and it would saddle the Nation with huge liabilities related to federal law requirements with polluted sites.
“There is a reason why no one wants to buy this coal plant—it is a money loser—and the lame duck leadership being bent on chaining the future of our Nation to a losing proposition would spell disaster for the future of our people,” continued Horseherder. “Instead of trying to ram through reckless decisions on NGS, Navajo leadership should focus instead on preparing our communities for the inevitable shift that entire energy markets around our region are making to move away from coal.”
“As part of this shift, the Navajo Council should also be asking industries like Peabody, which enriched themselves for decades on our land, tough questions on what exactly they are doing to support and financially help their workers as this transition away from coal sweeps through our communities. That’s where the Council should be showing more urgency, not on trying to keep a coal industry on life support at the expense of the Nation’s entire economic future.”
Remy, email@example.com, 779-777-9301
Nicole Horseherder, Tó Nizhóní Ání, firstname.lastname@example.org, 928-675-1851