For Navajos, coal means survival

Ryan Randazzo
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 13, 2008 12:00 AM

Navajo Nation leaders are well aware that coal has fallen from favor in thisage of global warming. But to them, plans for a new power plant on the reservation mean more than rising temperatures and climate patterns.

To them it is survival.

The proposed Desert Rock Energy Project in northwestern New Mexico could add $50 million in revenue to their annual budget of about $130 million, excluding government contracts, and bring 1,000 construction jobs and 400 permanent positions to the plant and expanded mine.

Environmentalists on and off the reservation are fighting the plans, saying that the region already suffers enough air pollution from existing coal plants and mines. They say the poverty-stricken tribe could see a bigger economic boost from developing wind and solar energy.


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