Navajo Nation youth battle coal-fired power plant on reservation

The Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona. Photo by Wolfgang Moroder

About 30 youth from the Navajo Nation are in California to stand up for their right to clean air.

The youth are attending two hearings before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Friday. They want to know why the Navajo Generating Station on their reservation won't be subject to the same environmental controls imposed elsewhere in the nation.

"The whole point for me being here is to show my face and show that us young people care about our land and about everything we had — or have," Sebale Tsosie, 21, told the Associated Press.

The Navajo Generating Station is located on the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation. Under decisions made by the Obama administration in January 2013 and July 2013, it is required to meet certain standards for air emissions.

The Navajo Nation officially supported those decisions, along with a 2014 final rule about emission standards. The coal-fired plant provides revenues for the tribe and jobs on the reservation.

The neighboring Hopi Tribe, however, was not allowed to participate in the process and filed one of the lawsuits being heard by the 9th Circuit today. The second was filed by individual Navajo citizens, Navajo groups and others who are seeking stronger emissions standards at the plant.

“For a younger Navajo person today, the prospect of NGS being allowed to pollute for nearly 30 more years is devastating,” Jihan Gearon, the executive director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition, said in a press release. “With that kind of time frame locked in for allowing coal pollution, where’s the hope and impetus toward the more sustainable and cleaner future that the younger generation desperately wants?”

Turtle Talk has posted briefs from the cases, Hopi Tribe v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Vincent Yazzie v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Read More on the Story:
Navajo Youth Travel to San Francisco to Protest Coal Plant (AP 11/18)

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