Stop New Black Mesa Mining

Dear friends and relatives,

Please take a few minutes to read and hopefully respond!  We have being trying our best to handle the railroading tactics of Peabody, the Office of Surface Mining and its desire mine more coal!


Black Mesa Project permitting process Re-opened!
Deadline for commenting: July 7, 2008

Coal is the liver of Mother Earth, keep it in the ground, keep her alive and healthy!

In 30 years the Black Mesa mine has contributed an estimated 325 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere! If Peabody's Black Mesa Project is permitted, coal from the Black Mesa mine could potentially contribute an additional 290 million tons of CO2 to the global warming crisis!

Save Nihima Dzil Yijiin! Protect Our Mother Black Mesa!

The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) has recently re-activated the Black Mesa Project (BMP) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in May 2008.

After being shelved for one year, the preferred alternative for the draft EIS has changed to Alternative B.

In 2006, OSM released the DEIS for the BMP supporting preferred Alternative A. Which meant the expansion of the mine, the building of a coal-washing facility, the use Coconino Aquifer and Navajo Aquifer, and re-building of the 273-mile coal slurry-line to transport coal to the Mohave Generating Station. Since January of 2006 MGS, Black Mesa mine and slurry-line has closed due to the unavailability of coal transportation means, fresh ground water (Navajo and Coconino Aquifer).

Today Alternative B has re-opened the DEIS. Alternative B is to supply Black Mesa coal to the Navajo Generating Station located near Page, AZ.

Alternative B will combine the Black Mesa mine and Kayenta mine into one life- of-mine permit (LOM), thus giving Peabody Coal Company the right to mine in their coal lease boundary until there is no coal left. Currently the Kayenta mine is the only operating mine on Black Mesa and has been operating on a LOM permit for over 30 years. Alternative B would expand and re-open the Black Mesa Mine joining the Kayenta mine.

It is still unclear what exactly Alternative B is, community people of Black Mesa are outrage for the lack of notification and sudden change in the DEIS. Residents of Black Mesa have been opposing the BMP draft EIS since its release. In particular, the majority of public comments submitted to OSM last year are comments regarding Alternative A.

OSM has given 45 days for the general public to respond on Alternative B, this is an insufficient time for elders, youth and Navajo and Hopi speaking people to make comments. The deadline for public comments is July 7, 2008.

Take Action Now!

Please help by doing one or all of the below:

1. Simply download the below letter, sign it and mail it in! (OSM contact information below)

2. Download the sample letter, change or add MORE to it that addresses your concerns for climate change, global warming, air quality, alternative energies, or other future environmental quality issues.  Don't forget to sign it and mail it in!

3. Type out or hand write your own letter using the suggested talking points, sign and mail it in!

4. Host a letter writing party! Invite friends and family over to write their own letters using the suggested talking points and sample letter.  Provide paper, pens, envelopes and stamps.

We encourage you to hand write your own letter, we have talking points and a sample letter below that can be helpful.

Please write or email to both the Navajo OSM and the regional OSM (contact info below) request a suspension and complete halt of this EIS process! Or, in the alternative, an indefinite extension of the commenting period on the Black Mesa Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement!

A few suggested talking points and concerns with the DEIS:

No official U.S. and Navajo government entity has outreached or shared information to local Black Mesa residents adequately regarding Alternative B,
The BMP draft EIS is outdated and has irrelevant information. If they want to pursue Alternative B, they need to restart a new EIS process from the beginning,
Many of the public comments submitted last year for the BMP draft EIS were intended for Alternative A, which is an inactive issue now,

The DEIS mentions lung problems and only proposes mitigation for mine workers, not residents. DEIS must look at mitigation measures for local residents to avoid health problems associated with black lung, silicacosis and other lung ailments like asthma,

The DEIS does not consider how OSM will comply with RFRA (Religious Freedom and Restoration Act) and prevent substantial burden on the tribes' ability to practice their religion,

The DEIS does not compare the economics of additional coal mining vs. a Just Transition to renewable energy development on the mine site and reclaimed areas to prevent long-term cumulative impacts by additional coal mining,

The DEIS does not address the pumping of the Navajo Aquifer for the last thirty years.  These amounts exceed the aquifer's ability to replace water annually, and have adversely impacted the natural springs and seeps all over Black Mesa.

Springs and seeps no longer can produce the water needed for Navajo families to survive daily. Instead families must abandon local water resources and use community wells 20-30 miles over unimproved roads. The mining operation's irresponsible use of groundwater has jeopardized the people's survival into the future. Peabody has not included in its application the impact on the people of Black Mesa and how long they can expect to survive with continued use and contamination of the only source of drinking water the people have. What measures do they have in place to insure the people that an alternate source of water in quality and quantity will be delivered if there is irreversible damage to the N-Aquifer?

DEIS is vague and does not give the reader a clear understanding of the social, cultural and economic impacts of the potential relocation of 17 families!
The DEIS does not address the current U.S. federal laws that make CO2 a pollutant and uncalculated CO2 emissions that will contribute to global warming until 2026, if more mining by Peabody coal company continues.

posted by: Somebody @ 3:36am