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Peabody Coal indigenous land comments needed

by Walter Epp Monday, Sep. 13, 2004 at 11:36 PM
for7gen@idiom.com

Your comments can help stop increased destruction of indigenous land & water, as well as air pollution and climate change affecting everyone.

Indigenous land and water are being sacrificed to provide cheap

electricity to big-city dwellers, most of which do not know where

their electricity comes from. Hopi and Navajo people who have been

finding their water disappearing now face the threat of Peabody Coal's

plans to take even more of their water. Please add your voice to those

calling on decision-makers to stop this injustice, and spread the word.

Nationally, the Office of Surface Mining is entertaining Peabody Coal's

application to expand its mines on Black Mesa, use more water, and get

a life of mine permit which would allow it to do what it wants indefinitely,

eliminating the ability of the public to have a meaningful say.

Deadline for public comments is Sept 15. See contacts and details below.

Regionally, public comment is needed on the fate of the Mohave Generating

Station in Laughlin Nevada, which has been powered by Black Mesa coal

delivered with Black Mesa groundwater. The current agreement between Black

Mesa and Mohave is up for renewal after 2005, as is the coal supply

agreement with the Hopi and Navajo tribes. Mohave is to close about that

time. The question is whether it is closed permanently or only temporarily

to install pollution controls mandated by the lawsuit from environmentalists

and then resume with another contract for coal and water or other transport.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is involved in the

decision as owners of Mohave include Southern California Edison and the Los

Angeles Department of Water and Power. Tell the CPUC that (1) under no

circumstances should Mohave be allowed operate using Black Mesa water, and

(2) Mohave should be shut down permanently and replaced by a solar power plant.

Feel free to add other points such as that coal is unacceptable because of

the impact of mining on the local people. A ruling could come soon.

You do not need to live in California to comment.

email public.advisor.la@cpuc.ca.gov

put Mohave Generating Station in the subject line

or send postal mail to

Public Advisor

California Public Utilities Commission

320 West 4th Street, Suite 500

Los Angeles, CA 90013

1-866-849-8391 or 1-213-576-7055

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/static/aboutcpuc/divisions/csid/public+advisor/index.htm

For more info:

http://www.blackmesatrust.org (928) 213-9009

http://www.blackmesais.org/Primer_on_Mohave_Generation_Station.htm

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=12720651&BRD=1817&PAG=461&dept_id=222087&rfi=6

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/proceedings/A0205046_doc.htm



To: BIGMTLIST@topica.com [ http://www.topica.com/subscribe/BIGMTLIST ]

From: Robert Dorman redorman@theofficenet.com>

Date: 4 Sep 2004

From: Carol Halberstadt carol@migrations.com>

From: "Andy Bessler" andy.bessler@sierraclub.org>

Date: 3 Sep 2004

Please pass this on to interested parties who can comment by Sept. 15th.

The email address for OSM contained a mistake. The correct email to send

your comments to OSM is: Blackmesa-comments@osmre.gov

We put an underscore ( _ ) instead of a dash (-). Sorry about this mistake

and hopefully you can still follow the directions below to send in your

comments! Comments sent to OSM with the underscore will bounce back if you

try to send emails to that address. Please use the one listed above.

Andy Bessler

Sierra Club

Environmental Justice Organizer

P.O. Box 38

Flagstaff, AZ 86002

andy.bessler@sierraclub.org

Phone: (928) 774-6103

Fax: (928)) 774-6138

The Sierra Club's Environmental Justice Program supports the efforts of the

Black Mesa Water Coalition and the Black Mesa Trust. They have asked for

assistance from you in commenting on an important coal mining application

submitted by Peabody Energy to the US Office of Surface Mining (OSM). Below

is a message from the BMWC and BMT urging you to help Navajo and Hopi people

ensure their drinking water is protected for the generations yet to come.

For decades, Peabody has been stripping the cultural foundation of Navajo

and Hopi people by draining their groundwater, the N-Aquifer. Ancient

springs that have fed terraced gardens and played critical roles in

ceremonial cycles of both tribes are drying up on Black Mesa. It is time to

stop wasting drinking water, polluting the air with coal-fired power plants

and move into the 21st century with wind and solar power! Stop Peabody

Pumping! Hope you can take a minute and send in a postcard to OSM and

Secretary Gail Norton by September 15th.

Andy Bessler, Sierra Club's SW EJ Organizer

We URGENTLY need YOUR VOICE!!

Just follow these steps:

1. Copy and paste SAMPLE LETTERS below into a new email message

2. Click here, copy and paste the following email address to OSM:

blackmesa-comments@osmre.gov

3. Add your personal statements and information, then send email to OSM

4. Feel good about helping to save Black Mesa Water!

OR

1. Print out pre-written SAMPLE LETTERS below:

2. Add your personal statements and information, then

send postcard in envelope to OSM (address below) with postage.

3. Feel good about helping to save Black Mesa Water!

The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) is accepting PUBLIC COMMENTS until

SEPT. 15th, 2004!!!

What's going on:

Peabody Coal Company has filed an application with the Office of Surface

Mining (OSM). Peabody is seeking to:

* Use MORE Black Mesa COAL! Peabody is proposing a 20% increase in

coal production!

* Use MORE WATER! They want 6,600 acre-feet of water from the

Coconino Aquifer, an aquifer that supplies water to many Northern Arizona

communities and springs!

* The CONTINUED USE of the N-AQUIFER! Continued pumping of the

Navajo Aquifer through 2008, if not indefinitely!

* Build a COAL WASHING facility! This facility would use potential

drinking water and fill impoundments used by farmers with toxic materials!

* Seal in MINING RIGHTS! Peabody seeks to lock in mining rights

until at least 2025

* and MORE! These are just a few of threats Peabody's application poses!

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE:

WE need YOUR comments. OSM is accepting public comment until SEPTEMBER

15th, 2004! Either send in the pre-written postcards (text below or visit

http://www.blackmesawatercoalition.org/postcard091504.htm ) OR better yet,

write your own letter! Tell OSM this application is a bad idea!

SEND your COMMENTS to:

Jerry D. Gavette, Black Mesa/Kayenta Mine Team Leader

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

P.O. Box 46667 Denver, Colorado 80201-6667

Or E-mail your comments to Jerry Gavette at:

blackmesa-comments@osmre.gov

Also send them to:

Honorable Gale Norton, Secretary

U.S. Department of Interior

18 th & C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20240

For more information contact Black Mesa Water Coalition, Black Mesa Trust,

or the Sierra Club's SW EJ office or check out our websites!

Black Mesa Water Coalition

Website: http://www.blackmesawatercoalition.org

e-mail: blackmesawatercoalition@yahoo.com

office #: (928) 226-0310

Black Mesa Trust

Website: http://www.blackmesatrust.org

office #: (928) 213-9009

Sierra Club's Southwest Environmental Justice office

Website: http://www.sierraclub.org

office #: (928) 774-6103

SAMPLE LETTERS/EMAILS:

Dear Mr. Gavette,

Please accept these comments on Peabody Western Coal Company's recent mine

application to the Office of Surface Mining. I urge you to treat Peabody's

request as a new permit application, instead of a revision because of the

adverse impacts it will have on the land, water, and cultures of Black Mesa.

Peabody's application is incomplete and must be subject to a new

Environmental Impact Statement and Endangered Species Act review.

Furthermore, Peabody must carry the burden of establishing that their

application is in compliance with all federal, state, tribal, and local

regulatory programs.

Despite substantial evidence that proves the negative impacts of Peabody's

pumping from the N-Aquifer and in the face of public demand that pumping

from the Navajo Aquifer stop by the end of 2005, Peabody insists on using

the N-Aquifer through 2008, if not indefinitely. Additionally, Peabody

seeks to tap into another fresh water source, the Coconino Aquifer, for

transporting and washing coal. The use of drinking water for this purpose

is unacceptable.

The federal government has a special trust responsibility to Native

American tribes. I urge you to live up to this responsibility and deny

Peabody's request.

Signature

Printed Name

Address

City

State

ZIP



Dear Secretary Norton,

Please accept these comments on Peabody Western Coal Company's recent mine

application to the Office of Surface Mining. I urge you to treat Peabody's

request as a new permit application, instead of a revision because of the

adverse impacts it will have on the land, water, and cultures of Black Mesa.

Peabody's application is incomplete and must be subject to a new

Environmental Impact Statement and Endangered Species Act review.

Furthermore, Peabody must carry the burden of establishing that their

application is in compliance with all federal, state, tribal, and local

regulatory programs.

Despite substantial evidence that proves the negative impacts of

Peabody's pumping from the N-Aquifer and in the face of public demand

that pumping from the Navajo Aquifer stop by the end of 2005, Peabody

insists on using the N-Aquifer through 2008, if not indefinitely.

Additionally, Peabody seeks to tap into another fresh water source, the

Coconino Aquifer, for transporting and washing coal. The use of drinking

water for this purpose is unacceptable.

The federal government has a special trust responsibility to Native American

tribes. I urge you to live up to this responsibility and deny Peabody's request.

Signature

Printed Name

Address

City

State

ZIP

--Carol Snyder Halberstadt, coordinator & cofounder

Black Mesa Weavers for Life and Land

A nonprofit enterprise of the Dine' (Navajo) of Black Mesa, Arizona

Wool & Weavings Fair Traded from the Source (tm)

http://www.blackmesaweavers.org



To: BIGMTLIST@topica.com

From: Robert Dorman redorman@theofficenet.com>

Date: 4 Sep 2004 19:34:44 +0000

Subject: Here's Gale Norton's e-mail address

Gale_Norton@ios.doi.gov

= = = =

Feel free to plagiarize from my comments (for the CPUC substitute

"Mohave Generating Station" for "Peabody" where appropriate):

Coal is the most polluting fuel and causes most electric power pollution.

Air pollution toxics from fossil-powered electric power plants kill

about 30,000 Americans per year and sicken hundreds of thousands.

[ http://cta.policy.net/proactive/newsroom/release.vtml?id=19140

http://cta.policy.net/fact/mortality/mortalitystudy.vtml

http://cta.policy.net/fact/darkening_skies/health.vtml

http://www.cleartheair.org

http://www.commondreams.org/news2002/0613-10.htm

http://www.envirohealthaction.org/upload_files/ChildrenatRisk.pdf

http://cta.policy.net/proactive/newsroom/release.vtml?id=19080

http://cta.policy.net/proactive/newsroom/release.vtml?id=18980

http://www.green-e.org/your_e_choices/pollutants.html

http://www.citizen.org/texas/EnvProt/NSR/articles.cfm?ID=8601

http://www.lungusa.org/press/envir/air_112202.html ]

30,000 is about 10 times the number killed in the World Trade Center attack

of Sept 11. Cumulative electric consumption is about 30 times present

annual consumption [ http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/tab0803.htm ].

Thus to date, approximately 300 times more Americans have been killed by

electric power plant pollution than were killed by terrorism, so if we are

rational and value life, we will spend 300 times more effort on stopping

electric generator toxics and reducing coal consumption than we spend on

stopping terrorism.

Coal contributes more to global climate change than other fossil fuels

due to the higher levels of carbon dioxide per unit of energy.

A study of the impact of climate change on California concluded that

between loss of snowpack and rising sea levels causing collapse of the Bay

Delta, California could lose 65% of its fresh water supply, and there would

be 70% more fire. [ Sierra Yodeler November 1996 ]

Bad weather and resulting crop failures were contributing factors to

the economic collapse of North Korea.

40% of the land of China is undergoing desertification.

A Chinese dust storm in 2001 was so big it dropped dust 7,000 miles away

over an area reaching from Canada to Arizona. Millions of tons of topsoil

have been lost, which will take centuries to replace.

[ http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0126-07.htm ]

The Pentagon has concluded that climate change could cause food shortages,

"decreased availability and quality of fresh water in key regions due to

shifted precipitation patters, causing more frequent floods and droughts",

and disrupted access to energy supplies, resulting in war and "a significant

drop in the human carrying capacity of the Earth's environment".

[ An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States

National Security By Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall,

http://www.ems.org/climate/pentagon_climate_change.html ]

For more info on climate see http://www.heatisonline.org

It would be criminal to ignore these warnings and continue contributing to

this threat to our security by burning more coal as if there's no tomorrow.

When there is an imbalance in supply and demand, why is it that the

only choices presented are between which options to increase supply,

and no choices for reducing demand are considered?

Why are efficiency-increasing technologies and demand reduction never

allowed to compete fairly with jacking up supply, even on a free market

basis? Could it be because they are typically more cost-effective and

lots of supply options would fail to stand up to the competition?

[ see Amory Lovins on negawatts http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid171.php ]

US electric consumption in 2000 was over 9 times that of 1950, 5 times

as much per person [ http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/tab0803.htm ].

We're not 5 times better off now than we were then, and we were not

backward deprived people when we were using 1/5 what we're using now.

Thus eliminating all coal consumption by reducing electric consumption by

half (the portion currently generated via coal) is a reasonable option,

especially given that we have more energy-efficient technologies available

now and there was plenty of waste in 1950.

Smart retrofits have saved as much as 90% of lighting electric consumption

with no reduction in service or comfort [ Climate: Making Sense and Making

Money, Rocky Mountain Institute, www.rmi.org/images/other/C-ClimateMSMM.pdf ].

Under no circumstances should Peabody be allowed operate using Black Mesa

water. The people of Black Mesa have suffered more than enough from the

expropriation of their resources by outsiders. This is desert country,

where water is life, so taking water is taking life. The Southwest has been

under a severe drought so water is more precious now than ever. Peabody

must also not be allowed to consume drinking-quality water from any other

places such as the Coconino Aquifer.

It is insane to use pure high-quality water to ship coal in the desert.

Peabody can use alternative transportation methods as every other coal

mine in the country has been able to. Coal-washing and other purported

"needs" for water must only be approved using reclaimed water, and only

after an investigation of non-water alternatives and steady-state

recirculating technologies to reuse the same water many times on-site.

Pumping of the Navajo Aquifer must stop immediately and no pumping or mining

must be allowed until Peabody has (1) fully compensated everyone adversely

affected by past disruption of the waters and (2) posted a bond sufficient

in size to compensate everyone for future adverse effects arising from the

consequences of past disruption and (3) fully restored the groundwaters to

their naturally functioning order so no more disruption occurs in the future.

The substantial adverse impacts of additional mining on the watersheds,

groundwaters, landscapes, flora, fauna, societies, and cultures of

Black Mesa, and the illegitimacy of the means by which Peabody obtained

its prior permit, require that Peabody's request must be handled as a

new permit application, not a revision.

Peabody's application is unacceptably inadequate. A complete Environmental

Impact Statement and Endangered Species Act review are required.

No mining shall be allowed until Peabody proves its application is in

compliance with all federal, state, tribal, and local regulations at its

sole expense and liability. A condition of the permit must be that if

any breach is discovered then mining must stop until the problem is corrected.

Certain traditional Hopi and Navajo ceremonies consist of visiting a

sequence of sacred sites to give offerings and prayers. Some of these

ceremonies can no longer be conducted since the sites have been strip-mined

out of existence. By what authority is it right to deny one group of

people the ability to practice their religion in order that another group

may enjoy a few additional physical comforts and save a bit of money?

The Navajo at Big Mountain were subject to the biggest forced removal (ie

ethnic cleansing) of Indian people since the Cherokee Trail of Tears of 1838

and the Navajo Long Walk of 1864, in order to clear the land for mining.

"The forcible relocation of over 10,000 Navajo people is a tragedy of

genocide and injustice that will be a blot on the conscience of this

country for many generations."

-- Leon Berger, who resigned as Executive Director of the Navajo-Hopi

Relocation Commission

"I feel that in relocating these elderly people, we are as bad as the

Nazis that ran the concentration camps in World War II."

-- Roger Lewis, federally appointed Relocation Commissioner who resigned

John Boyden, a white lawyer instrumental in setting up the forced

relocation program, and instrumental in setting up the Hopi Tribal Council

itself against the wishes of the majority of the Hopi people, made more

than million working for both the Tribal Council and Peabody Coal, as a

sweetheart stripmine lease was "negotiated".

Thus the existing coal and water contracts are illegitimate, and the

subject of your proceeding should not be how to extract more electricity,

coal, and water from indigenous lands but how to pay reparations to the

tribes.

Some Navajo can trace their ancestry at Big Mountain on Black Mesa for

25 genermations. That's longer than the USA has been in existence.

The Hopi have been documented to live at Black Mesa for at least 800 years,

That's many times longer than Arizona or the OSM have been in existence.

Depriving them of water threatens to destroy their ability to survive

in their homeland. That would be a violation of international law.

Their human rights and land rights take precedence over the right of people

to pay a low fee to flip on switches to live a life of comparative luxury,

or the right of corporations to make any profit.

For details see:

Dark Days on Black Mesa by John Dougherty, Phoenix New Times April 24 1997

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/issues/1997-04-24/feature2.html

A People Betrayed by John Dougherty, Phoenix New Times May 1 1997

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/issues/1997-05-01/feature.html

The Black Mesa Syndrome by Judith Nies

http://www.blackmesais.org/bigmtbackground.html

Geopolitics of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute by John Redhouse

http://www.angelfire.com/art/hoganview/Geopol.htm

-- Walter Epp

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