Scratching backs for coal

The Earth is my Mother; the Sky is my Father. May Peace Prevail on Mother Earth. Photo by Marley Shebala

The Earth is my Mother; the Sky is my Father. May Peace Prevail on Mother Earth. Photo by Marley Shebala

Greetings Relatives/Frens,
Navajo Nation Council Delegate LoRenzo Bates, who is the Budget & Finance Committee chairperson and Investment Committee member, and Council Delegate Roscoe Smith, who is the Resources & Development Committee vice chairperson, have slid their legislation 0305-13, $4.1 million for Navajo Transitional Energy Company, through the legislative process.

And if the Budget & Finance Committee and the Naa’biki’yati’ Committee support it today, 10-10-13, it goes before the Council, which is having its regular Fall session from 10-21 to 25-13. I won’t be surprised when the B&F and Naabi support it and recommend it to the Council for approval or if Speaker Johnny Naize calls a special Council session, like Bates called a special B&F Committee meeting today, 10-10-13.

The tribal legislative process begins when the proposed legislation is “dropped” into the five-day electronic public comment, which was at 6 p.m. on 10-2-13, a Wednesday for the Bates-Smith legislation. By Navajo law, the five-day comment periods ended at 6 p.m. on 10-7-13, Monday.

The next day, 10-8-13, Tuesday, the Bates-Smith bill was before the Resources & Development Committee, which supported it and recommended it with a vote of 4 in favor, 0 opposed to the B&F Committee – without debate because the RDC had been holding work sessions with President Ben Shelly’s hand-picked Energy Advisory Committee after the EAC rolled it out with a 6-23-11 press release announcing 6 “public meetings to consider the use of energy and future development of the Navajo Nation’s energy resources” after the EAC held the first meeting at the Nenahnezad Chapter on 6-22-11, the day before the press release.

The day of the press release was the second public meeting at Shonto, Ariz., and the next day, 6-24-11, was a meeting at Cameron, Ariz., followed by a 6-29-11 meeting at Arizona State University in Tempe and Howard Johnson in Gallup, N.M. The final meeting was 6-30-11 at University of NM.

I really don’t know for sure if Shelly and his EAC believed that their Energy Policy would be received with applause, no questions, and no opposition. And when it wasn’t, Shelly and his EAC didn’t talk about their Energy Policy until the Resources & Development Committee began working on it.

But Shelly cannot take full credit for the proposed Energy Policy.

In 2003, when Shelly was vice president for President Joe Shirley, Shirley started working on an Energy Policy with then Division of Natural Resources Director Arbin Trujillo, who was his political appointee, in 2003. Trujillo went to work for Arizona Public Service Company’s Four Corners Power Plant after he resigned, which was shortly before Shirley finished his limit of two terms.

Shelly was Shirley’s vice president during his two terms, which were from 2003 to 2011.

According to Shelly, the proposed Energy Policy would open the door for him to revive the coal-fired Desert Rock project in the eastern part of the Navajo Reservation but as a coal liquefaction plant, which he called “clean coal” technology.

Shelly fully supports the proposed Energy Policy. During an 10-4-13 press conference with Speaker Johnny Naize and Bates, he told Naize that he would sign off on the $4.1 million for the Navajo Transitional Energy Company if the Council approved the Energy Policy and revived Desert Rock.

Bates called a special meeting of the Budget & Finance Committee at 8 a.m. today to act on the $4.1 m for NTEC, which would allows the $4.1 m to be added to the agenda for Naabi, which is meeting at 10 a.m. today.

The $4.1 m. legislation includes approval for NTEC to borrow up to $36 m for the BHP coal mine purchase by using the Permanent Trust Fund interest as collateral. The PTF interest is about $32 m. The $4.1 m to come from tribal Reserves as loan. Reserves has never been used to make loans.

Here is an article about American Indian Nation joining forces to oppose coal.
‘We Draw the Line’: Coal impacted Lummi Nation & Northern Cheyenne Unite in Solidarity

Here are the web addresses for the proposed agendas of the B&F Committee & Naabi Committee:
Budget & Finance Committee proposed 10-10-13 agenda
Naa’biki’yati’ Committee proposed 10-10-13 agenda

And here is a press release from the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch about the Judicial Branch shutdown for three days.
The courts, programs and offices of the Judicial Branch will be closed October 28-31, 2013, due to mandatory staff attendance at the annual Judicial Branch conference.
Please contact the judicial districts or the appropriate office with any questions.
Telephone numbers:
Administrative Offices of the Courts (928) 871-6762
Peacemaking Program (928) 871-6388
Office of Probation and Parole Services (928) 871-6765
Chinle Judicial District (928) 674-2070
Crownpoint Judicial District (505) 786-2072
Kayenta Judicial District (928) 697-5549
Ramah Judicial District (505) 775-3218
Shiprock Judicial District (505) 368-1270
Tuba City Judicial District (928) 283-3140
Window Rock Judicial District (928) 871-6626
Alamo Court (575) 854-2668
To’hajiilee Court (505) 908-2817
Dilkon Judicial District (928) 657-8140
Aneth Judicial District (435) 651-3545
Dzil Yijiin Judicial District (928) 675-2316
Supreme Court (928) 871-6763

Karen Francis, Government Relations Officer
Office of the Chief Justice
Office: (928) 871-6920
Fax: (928) 871-6761

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