HADA'A SIDI TO FIGHT PEABODY WESTERN LEASE AMENDMENT
The Navajo Nation Council will hold a work session on Monday, December 21st, and then hold a vote the next day, on whether to approve amendments to a Peabody Western Coal Company mining lease. Hadada'a sidi, a Navajo grassroots reform organization, opposes the amendments because there is insufficient public information on its fairness and how it will benefit the Navajo Nation, and the public has not been adequately notified and involved. As is often the case, we aren't seeing transparency and inclusion in the legislative process. There are problems with the amendment: For example, Peabody Coal promoters promised the people of the Black Mesa and Kayenta areas that the company will help with basic community needs. They include water, electricity, roads and other infrastructure items. Given that Navajo society is still largely oral, Navajo communities and voters took the coal company representatives at their word and approved leases based on promises for assistance. However such promises are not legally enforceable, and they were not kept. While the central government may get the benefit of coal leasing, the affected communities did not. It is up to Western Agency Navajo Nation Council delegates to vote down any continuation of leasing until that is addressed.