Saturday, October 11, 2008

Verse 10 - Still a National Sacrifice Area?

In New Mexico we met with two very distinct organizations. In the morning we met with members of Dineh CARE (Dineh Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment) who came out in force. Many elders attended, and the meeting was led by Lori Goodman and Dailan Long. The group was well presented and well prepared with an impressive power-point presentation.

In the afternoon we met with Elouise Brown, president of Dooda (NO) Desert Rock Coalition.

Both groups are working to put a halt to a pulverized coal-burning power plant that is scheduled to begin construction in Burnham, New Mexico on the Navajo Nation by next year.
Navajo Nation leaders, including Joe Shirley, Navajo president, support the project for the jobs and revenues it could potentially bring the tribe.

Although the plant is being advertised as a clean coal-fired plant, the facility would add to CO2 emissions in the area (that already has two existing power plants), emit mercury, (estimated at 117-161 pounds per year minimum), pollute the water, and generally add further credence to the designation of the Four Corners area as a "National Sacrifice Area."

I was impacted by the dedication of Dine Care and Dooda Desert Rock Coalition. Elouise's extreme level of commitment extended to sleeping in her car or walking miles just to spread the word about what is happening in her community. Dine Care was very forward thinking with a vision for the future of their lands and for using renewable energies to empower tribal members and sustain Navajo cultural values.

Our last day of meetings with Native American environmental leaders who are pioneering the way for all of America ran short again.

We followed Elouise part way on our long drive to Albuquerque, stopping off to have a quick and late dinner together. She drove away fast, with much to do. I could hardly believe the journey was coming to its end.

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