indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Company drops development near sacred lake
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

After gaining state and federal approval to move forward with the controversial project, a utility company has dropped plans to develop a mine near a sacred lake in New Mexico.

Salt River Project of Arizona announced yesterday that its board of directors voted to look for other sources of coal. "As a result, SRP will not develop the Fence Lake Coal Mine in western New Mexico," the company said in a statement.

The utility's decision caps off years of debate over the fate of Zuni Salt Lake. Several tribes, led by Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico, vigorously fought the proposed mine, fearing it would damage the lake, destroy burial sites and disrupt religious pilgrimages.

"It's a tremendous victory for all Indian tribes concerned with sacred sites issues," Zuni council member Dan Simplicio told The Santa Fe New Mexican in a story published today. "It's been a tremendous and costly battle, and I'm glad it's over."

SRP sought to create a mine on 18,000 acres of public and private land just miles away from the lake. The company would have transported coal via a 44-mile rail line to a power plant across the border in Arizona.

Earlier this year, the Department of Interior gave its nod to the development but imposed several conditions, which SRP said it was meeting. The company was barred from pumping water from an aquifer that feeds the lake and was to conduct tests to ensure that other groundwater sources weren't harmed.

The limitations didn't deter Zuni Pueblo from lobbying to protect the lake, a central part of tribal religion. The tribe enlisted the support of several tribes in New Mexico and Arizona, and brought on board environmental and conservation groups, including the influential National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In May, the National Trust placed Zuni Salt Lake on its list of most endangered places, citing harm to the water sources. Just last month, a continent of New Mexico's Congressional delegation urged the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management to halt work on the mine pending additional studies the tribe said would show how the water sources were being impacted.

The letter drew criticism from Pat Lyons, the state's commissioner of public lands, who predicted a huge economic loss if the development was stopped. He cited $29 million in royalties the state would have received and the company's expected $16 million annual payroll.

Tribal leaders and members in turn blasted Lyons for putting what they called a monetary value on a sacred site. In a response letter, Zuni Gov. Arlen P. Quetawki said Lyons displayed an "eagerness to subordinate Native American religious rights to the promise of a few jobs and a few dollars." Lyons later said his comments were misunderstood.

From the National Trust for Historic Preservation Most Endangered List:
Zuni Salt Lake and Sanctuary Zone (May 2003)

Relevant Links:
Zuni Salt Lake Coalition - http://www.zunisaltlakecoalition.org
Salt River Project - http://www.srpnet.com
New Mexico Mining and Mineral Division - http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/Mining
New Mexico State Land Office - http://www.nmstatelands.org

Related Stories:
Zuni Pueblo gaining allies in mine battle (7/28)
Campaign to protect sacred lake in N.M. ramps up (07/02)
Zuni Pueblo seeking to rebury remains (06/26)
List highlights threats to sacred and historic sites (05/30)
Zuni Pueblo continues fight against mine (05/16)
BIA hydrologist to investigate mine near sacred lake (04/28)
Zuni Pueblo pushes Norton to reject mine (02/14)
Zuni Pueblo takes mine fight on the road (07/17)
N.M. tribe challenges coal mine approval (6/3)
Zuni Pueblo waits on mine (5/3)
Zuni Pueblo teams up to fight mine (12/3)
Mine near N.M. sacred lake supported (11/14)
No decision made on Zuni mine (10/25)
Group: Norton to approve Zuni mine (10/24)
Bingaman writes Norton about mining near Zuni lake (10/4)
Mine near sacred lake raises concern (9/18)
Zuni Pueblo fighting mine approval (8/29)
Mine developer hopes for approval (6/26)
Pueblo promises lawsuit against mine (6/25)
Mine near sacred lake debated (6/22)
Zuni Pueblo battling coal mine (6/11)

Copyright 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Kumeyaay Nation still waiting to repatriate ancestors despite win (8/27)
IHS plans to expand service area for Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (8/27)
Native Sun News: Health workers join together for race relations (8/27)
Ivan Star: Oglala Sioux government fails majority of our people (8/27)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump isn't the only crazy one in the race (8/27)
Harlan McKosato: Isleta Pueblo opposes city development plan (8/27)
Julianne Jennings: People of color must unite for justice or else (8/27)
Hillary Clinton campaign reaches out to tribal voters in Nevada (8/27)
EPA releases internal report into Gold King Mine spill disaster (8/27)
Southern Ute Tribe hosts top DOJ officials at crime conference (8/27)
Paper must ask to attend Eastern Cherokee council meetings (8/27)
Koi Nation praises charges against man accused of looting site (8/27)
Pokagon Band breaks ground on village with housing complex (8/27)
Tribes provide fire services on and off reservations in California (8/27)
Chumash Tribe signs new Class III casino compact in California (8/27)
Tohono O'odham Nation heading back in court in casino lawsuit (8/27)
Ak-Chin Indian Community announces $100M casino expansion (8/27)
Lower Sioux Indian Community debuts $22M casino expansion (8/27)
Little Traverse Bay Bands plan new development at old casino (8/27)
Seminole Tribe wins major ruling in taxation dispute in Florida (8/26)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on EPA mine spill (8/26)
Indian Health Service to hold a second meeting for LGBT issues (8/26)
Obama picks for National Advisory Council on Indian Education (8/26)
Native Sun News: Lakota grandmother debuts film about uranium (8/26)
Native Sun News: Miss Crow Fair thanks family for strong support (8/26)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Beware of vicious and deadly gossip on rez (8/26)
Former Navajo Nation leaders blamed for lack of women's shelter (8/26)
Man charged with murder of Crow Tribe couple could face death (8/26)
Former executives charged with theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (8/26)
Northern Arapaho Tribe asks Obama to drop appeal in eagle case (8/26)
Kickapoo Tribe adds former treasurer to lawsuit against ex-chair (8/26)
Final defendant sentenced for murder on Wind River Reservation (8/26)
County finally agrees to discuss land issues with Chumash Tribe (8/26)
Lytton Band faces local opposition to land development projects (8/26)
Mohegan Tribe welcomes visitors to new sub shop in Connecticut (8/26)
Gun Lake Tribe consolidates governmental offices at new campus (8/26)
Grand Ronde Tribes host annual economic development meeting (8/26)
DC council member doesn't want racist name tied to stadium deal (8/26)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to see BIA decision on casino project (8/26)
Seminole Tribe heads into mediation for Class III gaming compact (8/26)
United Auburn Indian Community compact praised by lawmakers (8/26)
New leader of Jamul Indian Village cites benefits of $360M casino (8/26)
Alaska governor pursues appeal in landmark land-into-trust case (8/25)
Native Sun News: Tribes respond to toxic spill at abandoned mine (8/25)
Native Sun News: Behind the scenes with Indian relay racing team (8/25)
Leon Matthews: Lakota people carry on a long tradition of sharing (8/25)
Harlan McKosato: Sending my mother home in the traditional way (8/25)
Charles Kader: Boy Scouts continue to play with our tribal cultures (8/25)
Mike Myers: Choosing a path between sovereignty or colonization (8/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.