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Column: Environmentalists putting tribal members out of work

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: apache, arizona, energy, navajo

Columnist says environmental groups don't want tribes making money off of their natural resources:
In some cases, as in north­ern Arizona, the enviros are proving successful in creating unemployed Navajos. The En­vironmental Protection Agen­cy last fall forced the owners of the Navajo Generating Sta­tion near Page into a deal to shut down one of the plant's three generators, thus reduc­ing the need for Navajo coal miners and plant workers by a third.

In other cases, such as with the Haida salmon-restoration project, founded by the Haida tribe of British Columbia, the jury's out.

The Haida spent $2.5 mil­lion to seed ocean areas where young salmon are known to run with 120 tons of iron oxide and sulphate. That spawned an enormous plume of plankton on which the young fish fed, leading to an unprecedented amount of pink salmon return­ing to the Fraser River in the fall of 2013. The Haida, who commer­cially fish the Fraser, benefit­ed economically, obviously. And this brazen act of inde­pendence is proving utterly maddening to environmental groups: "Even the placement of iron particles into the ocean, whether for carbon sequestra­tion or fish replenishment, should not take place, unless it is assessed and found to be le­gitimate scientific research without commercial motiva­tion (my italics)," said one hor­rified green-groupist.

In Arizona, Apaches for generations have conducted logging operations on their land in the eastern mountains — out of the legal grasp of their environmentalist bet­ters, in other words.

Their stewardship of the forests they control provided the prototype for forest reme­diation projects such as the Four Forest Restoration Ini­tiative — a profit-seeking model that may be the only vi­able means of saving our over­grown forests from wildfire.

Get the Story:
Doug MacEachern: Tribal capitalists earning the ire of environmentalists (The Arizona Republic 4/29)

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