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:
Gathering scheduled in June at site of former BIA insane asylum (4/29)
Native Sun News: Tribal college student overcomes challenges (4/29)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ancestors are gone but language lives on (4/29)
Mike Rounds: Eliminate 'hateful' and 'paternalistic' federal laws (4/29)
Harlan McKosato: White privilege fuels Donald Trump's fanbase (4/29)
Indian Health Service faulted for lengthy waits for patient care (4/29)
Mescalero Apache woman to compete for Miss United States (4/29)
Environmental Protection Agency pays little to tribes for spill (4/29)
Measure to declare bison as official mammal ready for Obama (4/29)
John Wayne's negative views about tribes resurface in debate (4/29)
Chumash Tribe picks Kenneth Kahn as first new leader in years (4/29)
Mille Lacs Band announces upgrades as casino marks 25 years (4/29)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees warmer reception to casino bid (4/29)
Florida racks up legal bills in gaming fight with Seminole Tribe (4/29)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe sues Indian Health Service over shutdown (4/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves eight bills at meeting (4/28)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe to debut justice center (4/28)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne official fired from tribal job (4/28)
Native Sun News: Comments sought on Black Hills mine cleanup (4/28)
Editorial: Native Sun News endorses Hillary Clinton for president (4/28)
Cronkite News: EPA slammed for response to Gold King Mine spill (4/28)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump advisor accuses tribes of terror plot (4/28)
Alex Jacobs: Hillary Clinton must answer to role in Honduras coup (4/28)
Northwest tribes inch closer to reburial of Kennewick Man remains (4/28)
Santee Sioux Tribe hosts task force to address substance abuse (4/28)
Huge crowds flock to New Mexico for annual Gathering of Nations (4/28)
Muckleshoot Tribe to host $50K 'Gold Cup' for Indian relay racing (4/28)
Member of Puyallup Tribe develops 'Teepee' tribal directory app (4/28)
Man in long fight with Shingle Springs Band faces longer sentence (4/28)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe enters gaming agreement with Mohegan Tribe (4/28)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees casino as a path to self-sufficiency (4/28)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe announces another hire at casino (4/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe welcomes rejection of rival casino bid (4/28)
Senate passes measure to include Indian Country in tourism plans (4/27)
Amanda Blackhorse to deliver commencement speech at Haskell (4/27)
Native Sun News: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe aims to stop pipeline (4/27)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge artist gains national recognition (4/27)
Brandon Ecoffey: 'Bull Dawg' represents the Oglala Lakota Nation (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Tribes endorse Native candidates for US Congress (4/27)
John Thune: Tribal citizens suffer with Indian Health Service care (4/27)
Cronkite News: Tribes support more protections at Grand Canyon (4/27)
Gabe Galanda: A moral responsibility to stop tribal disenrollment (4/27)
Vernice Moncooyea Willis: Bernie Sanders deserves our support (4/27)
Jennifer Denetdale: University must stop celebrating genocide (4/27)
Eastern Cherokee group hails Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act (4/27)
Leader of Fort Peck Tribes blames baby's death on drug abuse (4/27)
Chippewa Cree Tribe and FBI investigate theft of drugs at clinic (4/27)
Former comptroller of Crow Tribe accused of embezzling $28K (4/27)
Congress set to pass bill to declare bison as national mammal (4/27)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton moving closer to nominations (4/27)
Fond du Lac Band won't confirm plan for site adjacent to casino (4/27)
Graton Rancheria on track to complete $175M casino expansion (4/27)
Pokagon Band to debut casino expansion project by end of year (4/27)
Connecticut tribes delay decision on potential casino until 2017 (4/27)
Oregon Lottery official fired as Lewis and Clark ads come down (4/27)
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.