Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 14, 2022

Poisonous Green: Navajo Nation freight rail scam follows atomic bomb industry heading energy transition for Four Corners

Photo Courtesy Shiprock Chapter, Navajo Nation

The freight rail proposal presented in Shiprock on the Navajo Nation, on Tuesday, comes after the atomic bomb industry headed the new energy transition session in Farmington, New Mexico. The United States "clean energy economy" is on track to continue the use of the Four Corners as a sacrifice zone. -- Censored News

Four Corners Freight Rail Study Team Public Info Meeting

By Joseph Hernandez

Censored News

Sept. 14, 2022

NAVAJO NATION, SHIPROCK, New Mexico -- First, It was a good turnout in Shiprock and I want to thank everyone who provided public comments at this 3 hour public info meeting to inform the County, State, Federal and even our own Navajo officials that building a Freight rail is not heavily supported from people who live in the path of this proposed heavy load railroad. 

For this initial process San Juan County is the lead agency who was awarded a $2 million grant for a feasibility study. In yesterday's presentation there were no Navajo Nation officials to explain the MOU, memorandum of understanding, that was signed in February of 2020 by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer and Navajo Nation Attorney General Doreen N. McPaul. What was mentioned is that this “team” will be looking at designs, railroad alignment and right of way access. 

They did not mention the many Navajo communities that have opposed this over 50 years or are providing meaningful community engagement such as translating the railroad project into our Navajo language. 

It was previously mentioned that the initial cost estimates for this would be between $350-$450 million. Just think, with that much investment how many homes can we bring clean water to, can we electrify or that can be winterized. The reality is that 4CED really wants a railroad to make it financially possible to build a Hydrogen Hub, Petrochemical plant, etc.

The common message I heard even from our relatives who both support and oppose this was the inequity between members on and off the reservation. To get broad support for this project San Juan County is carrying the message “Opening the door of economic opportunity” while having the image of Tse' Bit' A’i (Shiprock) on their project website. 

I feel that our communities can come together on a path that will truly “Open New Doors” for all to thrive. Building a railroad does not get us there but only allows our Navajo communities to sacrifice more of their sacred lands while most corporations will continue to benefit. 

The Four Corners Freight Rail Study Team will hold a second public information meeting on Wednesday September 14, 2022 from 4-7 PM Farmington Civic Center 200 W. Arrington St., Farmington, NM 87401. The IMPORTANT thing here is to attend the Public Meeting and air/attest your position on this matter publicly.

Also the FCFRST must hold additional PUBLIC MEETINGS for all our Navajo Nation Chapters in the proposed project area who may/will be affected by this 'freight railroad study' etc.

Joseph Hernandez
Indigenous Energy Organizer
NAVA Education Project

Proposed Routes

The Freight Rail Line: Historic Trail of Death and Disease from Uranium Mining and Coal Fired Power Plants

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The proposed route of the freight rail line passes through the region
on the Navajo Nation that already has strewn radioactive tailings left
from uranium mining.
U.S. and Navajo politicians talk about clean up. That has not happened.
The proposed freight rail line is also in the area on the Navajo Nation where two Navajo coal-fired power plants have poisoned the land, air and water, near Shiprock and Bloomfield.
The United States government deemed the Four Corners a sacrifice zone and is responsible for the Dineh respiratory diseases and cancers on the Navajo Nation.
Dineh who worked in the uranium mines were never told that the dust was radioactive and deadly. In Red Valley and Cove, south of Shiprock, every Dineh family had a family member who suffered from cancer.
Church Rock, near Gallup, was the site of one of the worst radioactive spills in U.S. history. The radioactive water now flows toward Flagstaff in the Rio Puerco wash.
The Navajo Nation government signed the leases, and was paid royalties, for the coal mines and coal-fired power plants for electricity. The electricity was primarily for non-Indians in the Southwest.
The third coal fired power plant on the Navajo Nation was on the northwestern edge in Page, Arizona. Peabody's coal mines on Black Mesa, forced relocation, and Dineh  suffering fed this power plant, carrying electricity to non-Indians in the Southwest. While many Dineh lived without running water, the coal mines on Black Mesa used the water from the aquifer and drained the springs, while many Dineh lived, and continue to live, without running water.

Previous article at Censored News

Atomic bomb industry to lead Four Corners energy transition, mislabeled "clean energy economy"

In Farmington, the U.S. government said the Four Corners Rapid Response Team will be led by Los Alamos National Laboratory focused on the broader region’s transition to a clean energy economy."
There was a visit to a local oil and gas field, and private meeting at San Juan College, according to the United States government's Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization on August 25, 2022.

Copyright Joseph Hernandez, Brenda Norrell, Censored News. No portion may be used without written permission.

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