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
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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:
Indian Country makes presence known at Democratic convention (7/26)
Tim Giago: Questioning the motto of GOP candidate Donald Trump (7/26)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala team lands Indian relay title again (7/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes honor author of Indian Child Welfare Act (7/26)
Delphine Red Shirt: Let's eat food that's always been good for us (7/26)
Peter d'Errico: Luci Tapahonso tackles legacy of boarding schools (7/26)
Donald Trump tried to partner with Agua Caliente Band on casino (7/26)
Native American Council meets at Democratic National Convention (7/25)
Police officer cleared over fatal shooting of Navajo Nation woman (7/25)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Donald Trump and his campaign of hatred (7/25)
Native Sun News: Tribal advocate focuses on Great Plains efforts (7/25)
Lakota Country Times: Descendants of Pine Ridge legend gather (7/25)
Johnny Rustywire: Navajo mother works hard at motel for family (7/25)
Alex Jacobs: Nation finally admits problem with policing and race (7/25)
Dwaine Perry: Ramapough Lunaape Nation marching for justice (7/25)
Charges filed for assault on disabled member of Nisqually Tribe (7/25)
Man arrested for American Indian Movement flag settles lawsuit (7/25)
Interior Department consults tribes about new trust reform law (7/22)
Training sessions planned for final Indian Child Welfare Act rule (7/22)
Yurok Tribe shares sad news about salmon festival -- no salmon (7/22)
Mark Charles: An entire nation's big problem with Donald Trump (7/22)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump promises a world with no treaties (7/22)
Native Sun News: Appeal delays release of Keepseagle checks (7/22)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe hosts walk for cancer (7/22)
James Giago Davies: Police officers get away with 'kill option' (7/22)
Andre Cramblit: Police officer shootings seem far too common (7/22)
Donald Trump closes convention that left out Indian Country (7/22)
New law in Oklahoma goes against Indian Arts and Crafts Act (7/22)
NMAI seeks input from tribes about veterans memorial in DC (7/22)
Blackfeet Nation swears in leaders and looks to a new future (7/22)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe kicks off popular powwow after absence (7/22)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe declares emergency over opioids (7/22)
Review: Hard look at drugs in Indian Country in 'Seventh Fire' (7/22)
State takes blame for sharing Tohono O'odham Nation minutes (7/22)
Pokagon Band debuts expansion of gaming facility in Michigan (7/22)
Karuk Tribe ready for groundbreaking on long-awaited casino (7/22)
California remains a battleground for Indian Child Welfare Act (7/21)
Yurok Tribe launches operation to rid reservation of marijuana (7/21)
Laguna Pueblo loses case linked to military contract kickbacks (7/21)
Cherokee player Koda Glover wins praise in major league debut (7/21)
Education Department hosts Native youth for roundtable in DC (7/21)
Navajo Nation lawmakers approve bill for travel plaza at casino (7/21)
Mark Trahant: Trump's Republican convention is one big failure (7/21)
Native Sun News: Five Rosebud tribal members killed in crash (7/21)
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.