August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Desert Rock power plant: BIA issues death certificate for Navajos


Navajos fight the 'Lords and puppets' of corporations and spin doctors

By Brenda Norrell

SHIPROCK, N.M. -- The BIA's cozy relationship with Navajo politicians and the corporation Sithe Global was obvious in the BIA's recommendation to build the Desert Rock power plant, the third power plant in the Four Corners area.

Navajos said the draft environmental impact statement is no more than another alien document, another BIA-issued death certificate for the Navajo people.

"This BIA EIS is hogwash" said the founding Doodá Desert Rock Committee president, Sarah Jane White.

"They already made their decision to approve the project and this DEIS is just going to justify their decision," said the Navajo from Sanostee.

"But not if I can help it, our elders and our youth are ready to stand with us against the Sithe Lords and their puppet DPA (Dine' Power Authority)."

The Four Corners area has long been considered a sacrifice zone, attracting death machines such as the uranium industry during the Cold War and more recently power plants and oil and gas industries. This region is also Dinetah, the sacred place of Dine' origin.

For energy companies, the way has been paved by Navajo politicians. Navajo politicians receive the bulk of their salaries from energy industries and approve the tribal leases. The bulk of the Navajo Nation Council delegates' salaries and travel expenses come from taxes and royalties from the polluting industries of power plants, coal mines and oil and gas wells.

While the air, land and water are polluted, many Navajo elderly live without running water and electricity, while the nearly all of the power that is produced is transported to non-Indians.

Navajos are speaking out against the environmental destruction and the environmental racism that has made Navajo people the target. However, each time they speak out, highly-paid spin doctors known as press officers try to silence them, claiming that building another power plant is the only way the Navajo government can provide jobs.

Bradley Angel of Greenaction sent a message to Navajo President Joe, Shirley, Jr.

"Why are you so pleased to push a coal-fired power plant that would contribute to global warming, contaminate the air with asthma-inducing pollutants and cause the eviction of Navajo elders from their homes … and of course, disturb the burials and cultural sites in the immediate vicinity of Desert Rock.


While pushing for the Desert Rock power plant, at the same time President Shirley said he opposes new uranium mining and the desecration of Navajo sacred sites.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration pushes for more power plants nationwide, as part of the overall scheme to enrich profits for a small circle of corporations. At the same time, Navajos continue to be sacrificed in Bush's bogus war in Iraq. In Iraq, the same corporate scenario plays out. Bush's corporate friends with US contracts are not only making the profits, but are finding it easy to pocket billions without any justification, a fact recently exposed by Congress.

Dine' Citizens Against Ruining the Environment points out the death trap of still another power plant here.

"The BIA's recommended approval of the proposed Desert Rock Energy Project is a step backward from even minimal environmental protection because the planned power plant will only worsen the air pollution problem in the already over polluted San Juan Basin air shed.

"Combined with deadly air contaminants from the nearby Four Corners and San Juan power plants, Desert Rock will literally create a triangle of death in the northern Navajo Nation where Navajo people have long suffered epidemic levels of asthma, black lung disease, and other respiratory diseases caused by the decades of chronic exposure to persistent and accumulative airborne pollutants emitted by the existing industrial death factories on and near the affected reservation," Dine CARE said in a written statement.

The draft environmental impact statement process is also fatally flawed. The project proponents paid for the two-year study.

"So not surprisingly, the pre-biased or prejudiced environmental analysis (or draft EIS) supported the controversial project. Under the guise of impartial environmental review, the governmental and corporate agents of genocide produced a pre-decisional document designed to justify a bad project and one that is opposed by the very people who live in the shadow of its 580-acre 'footprint.'

"That document, written in the technical language of the alien invaders, is nothing less than a BIA-issued death certificate for those brave indigenous Diné who hold the sacred ground at Ram Springs."

Dine CARE said the BIA is engaged in a campaign built on deceit and treachery.

"It completed its draft EIS making it accessible only on the Internet.

"How many of our people have Internet access? How many of them even have electricity? Adding to its deliberate misinformation, the Bureau also announced that it will publish the draft’s 'Notice of Availability' in the Federal Register in early June. How many of our people read the Federal Register? How many of them even read the legal notices section in the Navajo Times?

"The federal Indian agency then announced that it will hold public hearings on the 'available' draft EIS beginning in mid-June. It took them over two years to produce the DEIS and it is atrocious that they expect the Navajo public to review and present oral comments on the voluminous technical document in less than a week or two," Dine' CARE said.

But don't expect to read much of that in the newspapers.

Whenever editors do publish the statements of Dine' CARE, the spin doctors come out like starving dogs with gnashing teeth, attacking anyone who publishes the words of Dine' CARE and anyone who champions the voices of the grassroots Navajo people.

Editors of publications that pander to tribal politicians won't publish these words. Others won't even care.

Return to Censored homepage:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i know what you mean and that no one cares, but i do, right now i'm going to school at sherman indian high school and i hardly get chances to keep up to date on the no desert rock, but i'm trying and i do care what happens to our mother earth.she takes care of us and yet were destroying her.Keep it up and maybe we'll be heard