Native Sun News: Navajo citizens battle power plant on reservation

The Four Corners Power Plant (pictured) and its nearby coal strip source of Navajo Mine, sold by BHP Billiton to the Navajo Nation, saddle the Diné with environmental liabilities, according to lawsuit plaintiffs. Photo from San Juan Citizens Alliance / Facebook

Navajo coal-power critics, clean energy advocates unite to sue feds over Four Corners project
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor

PHOENIX, Ariz. –– Navajo, regional and national conservation groups filed suit April 20 in federal District Court here against the U.S. government’s 25-year extension of coal operations at Four Corners Power Plant and Navajo Mine, which solely supplies the plant.

The lawsuit comes as the world’s largest mining company, Peabody Energy Corp., joins Arch, Alpha, Patriot and other U.S. coal companies in bankruptcy.

“Our Navajo Nation president recently declared, ‘We can’t depend on our coal, oil and gas revenues anymore,’” said Carol Davis of Diné CARE (Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment). “The rapid decline of global coal economics necessitates a hard look at solution-oriented growth for the Navajo Nation and Navajo communities, with reparations for over 50 years of undervalued resource flow off our lands.”

San Juan Citizens Alliance on YouTube: Time's Up For Coal at the Four Corners Power Plant

The Navajo Nation has taken over ownership and liabilities of Navajo Mine in Fruitland, N.M., from the BHP Billiton coal mining company, and is preparing to buy El Paso Electric’s share of Four Corners Power Plant in a deal to be brokered by majority owner Arizona Public Service.

“Approving 25 more years of coal mining and burning at the Navajo Mine and Four Corners Power Plant blindly assumes profitable operations when in reality they are suspect at best, and places the Navajo Nation at great economic risk with the cost of owning and operating Navajo Mine with full responsibility for eventual reclamation,” Davis said.

The lawsuit responds to the Department of the Interior’s May 2015 Environmental Impact Statement, which claimants say violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), failing to adequately analyze effects to air, water, land, people, and officially classified endangered species.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Navajo coal-power critics, clean energy advocates unite to sue feds over Four Corners project

(Contact Talli Nauman at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

Join the Conversation