Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 11, 2012

Dine' Andy Dann Coal fired power industry makes Navajos sick

Dine' Andy Dann: Time for renewal energy, and a halt to sickness from the coal-fired power plants and mines

By Andy Dann, Dine'
Published at Censored News

San Juan Generating Station

Testimony August 9, 2012
Nenanezad Chapter House, Navajo Land

My name is Andy Dann, Kinya annii ado I am born for Cheshei, Tacheeni ei da shi cheiis, Tabahaa ei da shi Naalii. I was born in Howell Mesa, AZ. I lived Farmington NM for the pass twenty years and raised with my wife and my 6 children. I would like to recommend that the millions of dollars that is proposed to be used for the BART would be better use to plan, design and transition the San Juan Power Plant to a renewable energy and natural gas power plant. We need to act now to ensure that we have an improved air quality and our water is abundant and clean to drink for our future generations. The haze impairs our cultural resource by have dirty particulates in the atmosphere at early dawn is unhealthy to breathe.

I have observed how the coal industry has impacted my people for over 60 years.

Prior to 1961, we Navajo people living on the reservation had the highest mortality rates in the United States.

I use to work for San Juan Generating Station and I began to get swollen arms, legs, breathing problems and could not sleep due to the pain. I sought out my own traditional ceremonies and was told by a medicine woman that the air I was breathing at work was the problem. I also went to the hospital and the doctors stated that there was nothing wrong with me.

One day, I decided to quit the job and the pain continued and endured it for two years after my decision to resign from this dirty industry. I have eye witness accounts of how the plant is not managed in a safe way. I saw with my own eyes how the water is wastefully used to clean the fly ash units.

I urge the NM Environment Department to support a third option, that is to transition to renewable energy power plants and retrain the current workers.

We can have both clean energy and clean healthy jobs for all people if you listen to common sense.

Thank you

Andy Dann

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