Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 28, 2013

Navajo Chapters oppose liabilities waiver for BHP dirty coal

Dangerous BHP ash ponds

Navajo Nation waiving all BHP Billiton’s liabilities and its associated costs NOT endorsed by the Navajo shareholders

By Dine' CARE

Farmington – On November 24, 2013, the Shiprock Chapter passed a resolution to oppose the waiver of BHP Billiton’s liabilities with a vote of 57-0. 

On this same day, a Farmington Daily Times article stated, “Shiprock is the only chapter to issue a resolution that opposes the waiver of liability.” This statement failed to include three other Chapters; Dilkon, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad (Burnham), and Tsé al náozt’í (Sanostee) who also oppose the Navajo leadership in purchasing the Navajo Mine and/or opposing the waiver of liabilities. On September 15, 2013, Tsé al náozt’í Chapter was the first to oppose the Navajo Mine purchase before the Navajo Nation Council waived BHP’s liabilities.

October 23, 2013, the Navajo Nation Council passed a Legislation (0149-13), which includes “Exhibit G” and in short, it states that Navajo Nation waives BHP Billiton’s past, present, and future unknown liabilities from the Navajo Mine. Some of these liabilities may include coal ash cleanup, indebtedness, unknown attorney fees, decreased water quality, and negative health impacts. A purchase agreement between BHP Billiton and the Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) was signed on October 31, 2013 for a price tag of $85 million. A Farmington Daily Times article released on Monday stated, “A coal supply agreement must be in place between NTEC and the Four Corners Power Plant, which is owned by Arizona Public Service.The proposed deadline to sign this agreement is December 1st, less than a week away.

The purchase of the Navajo Mine is an important issue and affects all Diné people. It is imperative to have governmental transparency at all levels (Navajo Nation, Department of Interior, and BIA) and increased public input for the Diné people to make an informed decision on the mine purchase,” states Colleen Cooley of Diné C.A.R.E.

“Where is the Department of Interior’s trust responsibility ensuring that the interest of the Navajo people are represented in the Navajo Mine acquisition?” states Sarah Jane White, Diné community member.

Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment (Diné C.A.R.E.) applaud initiatives by Shiprock, Dilkon, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, and Tsé al náozt’í Chapters for having the foresight in protecting our land, water, air, and health for present and future generations.

Colleen Cooley 928-637-3221
Lori Goodman 970-759-1908
Sarah Jane White 505-686-0102 Email:

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