We’re seeing a lot of purported concern these days from Arizona politicians and opinion writers in The Arizona Republic about the economy in Navajo country, where I’m from.
But the notion that jobs and revenue can come only from mining and burning coal is the agenda of multinational mining companies like Peabody Energy, not the priority of many Navajos today. The Navajo Generating Station has been a huge drain on water, using up massive quantities from the Colorado every year.
And someone should give Attorney General Tom Horne a primer on the chemicals in coal emissions that produce smog haze, considering his news release about his lawsuit against pollution reductions at three Arizona coal plants. Yes, those same chemicals also hurt health, especially kids’ and seniors’. Nitrogen oxides from coal smokestacks are an ingredient in ozone and fine particulates.
Renewable energy can be an economic and revenue engine far beyond fossil fuels on Navajo land and far safer for the water, air, and health protected, and the carbon pollution cut. Caring about the economy of the Navajo Nation doesn’t mean digging in to stay stuck with the coal status quo.