Coal Mining Curbed on the Black Mesa, Paving Way for Navajo Green Economy

By Yvonne Yen Liu Jan 13, 2010

The indigenous environmental justice movement celebrated a victory last Friday when a judge ruled that Peabody Energy cannot expand its coal mining operations on the Black Mesa in northern Arizona. Former president Bush Jr. approved a permit for Peabody in the twilight of his outgoing administration—not surprising, when you consider that Peabody’s parent holding company was Bechtel, a defense contractor with strong political ties—a permit that failed to fulfill all administrative requirements. Groups including the Black Mesa Water Coalition filed a petition in early 2009, charging that prerequisites, such as filing an Environmental Impact Statement, were ignored, thereby making the approved permit invalid. The Black Mesa Water Coalition and the Navajo Green Jobs campaign won another victory this summer when they successfully lobbied the Navajo Tribal Council to enact green jobs legislation. Check out our Green Equity Toolkit, which the discusses in detail equity indicators for the green economy. The Navajo are poised to be leaders, not only among tribal nations but also for all of us, in defining the new green way of living. Photos by the Black Mesa Water Coalition and the Navajo Green Jobs Campaign.