Dine' in T’iis Názbąs, Teec Nos Pos, warn the Navajo Nation Council of the dangers of helium mining, the presence of a rare plant species, and the threat to local water sourcesDine' community members here, in the Four Corners Region of the Navajo Nation, said the helium wells would be drilled in a residential area and the studies by the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company are outdated.
T’iis Názbąs Collaborative Coalition
Wed Dec 28, 2022
Today, our TNCC group submitted this letter to the 24th Navajo Nation Council regarding meeting requests that were ignored by the RDC committee and former Speaker Seth Damon.
Dear Honorable Chairman Ricky Nez and Members of the Resource Development Committee,
On September 27, 2022, our T'iis NásBąs Collaborative Coalition (TNCC) submitted a request to meet with you and members of the Resources and Development Committee (RDC) to share our concerns on legislation #232-21. To our disappointment, we did not receive a response back from you, nor Mr. Rodney Tahe, to schedule a one-on-one meeting. As a result, your committee failed to perform their due diligence by hearing the concerns of our Coalition, a grassroots group sanctioned by our TNP Chapter via Resolution #TNPCH-10-17-2022-FY2023-R-09, to advocate and promote social and environmental justice in our community.
Today, the Navajo Nation Council (NNC) will be making a landmark decision that will adversely impact every Diné member of all impacted communities, including TNP Chapter. Please be advised that our TNP community members have spoken by unanimously rejecting (Resolution #TNPCH-05-11-2022-FY22-R-67) support to this legislation for any type of helium, oil & gas exploration and drilling within the boundaries of our Chapter.
The controversial legislation #232-21 calls for 64+ helium wells in the heart of residential area of TNP community. It also contains multiple questionable loopholes, including the extension of exploration and drilling beyond the 10-year window. More disturbing are the environmental, archeological, biological, and seismic studies may have been performed by biased contractors hired directly by the Navajo Nation Oil & Gas Co.
Moreover, these studies are not up-to-date, where one study omits a “super rare” plant species called, Liananthus watsonii var. laccolithicus, identified by Dine’ native scholar, geologist, ethnobotanist, and geologist, Arnold Clifford. An example, such as this, should alarm Navajo leadership to deepen their understanding and provide sufficient protection to our People and our vulnerable Navajo ecosystems. Lastly, NNOGC has not identified where the water source will derive from and how this will impact our Navajo farmers and livestock.
Therefore, we respectfully, request that you table legislation #232-21 tomorrow so that more conversations and studies occur amongst all key parties (i.e., NNCC, NNOGC, TNCC, affected chapters, Department of Justice), particularly with your Diné constituents, to clarify these concerns.
T'iis NásBąs Collaborative Coalition