other participants include Salt River Project (SRP) (www.srpnet.com/Default.aspx)
as the lead applicant with the Hopi Tribe, Tri-State
Generation and Transmission, Tucson Electric Power (TEP)
and Peabody Coal Company.
and Tri-State currently supply generation, transmission
and distribution of electricity to communities through
Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska.
Peabody is one of the major coal producers in the United
Immediately adjacent to both Hopi and Navajo
communities, the project has very little research
available to assess long range impacts on the Black Mesa
Basin, which contains billions of tons of high quality,
low sulfur coal reserves as well as coal bed methane,
oil and gas reserves. The basin is currently surrounded
by six coal-fired energy plants which produce over
11,000 megawatts of power and emits 65 million tons of
harmful CO2 annually.
about the approval of this controversial project have
raised many questions from the Hopi people, who heard
about the approval through tribal department heads.
the more immediate concerns was that Hopi tribal members
were never given an opportunity to voice their concerns
and question the council regarding such a new technology
as CCS, since it is still considered experimental, and
long term storage of CO2 is a relatively new concept.
Scientists have stated that CO2 can be "captured" with
one such experiment taking place at the Cholla Power
Plant by Arizona Public Service, but long term outcomes
are still being researched.
are also questions about how long the CO2 will be
stored. The short answer is: forever.
concern is water. Since CCS requires massive amounts of
water because the capturing and compression requires
much energy, the Consortium also states that they don't
have the water right now, which would mean an increase
in pumping Hopi and Navajo water from its current water
rate. Proposed increases call for another 25 to 40 more
water being pumped.
is also a critical issue since scientists have stated
that they cannot predict how long CO2 can be safely
stored since it could potentially leak into other
underground aquifers or into the air.
community members have also asked: Can the Hopi Tribe
pull out of the project? The answer is yes, but not
without consequences. SRP, which operates the Mohave
Generating station, is the principal investigator and
applicant for the $5 million dollar grant from the DOE.
If the Hopi Tribe pulls out of the project, they could
possibly be put into a serious liability situation for
"misleading" DOE in accessing the money for this
has also been actively participating and supporting the
CCS project because they want to keep mining Hopi and
Navajo coal for a very long time.
Roberson, a consultant to the Consortium, is also under
fire from the Hopi community since part of her position
description requires her to act as facilitator to the
Hopi nation to "ensure permitting" and to engage in
public outreach on tribal lands concerning the project,
which to date has not occurred.
former Hopi Chairmen, Vernon Masayesva and Benjamin
Nuvamsa, spoke to the Observer about their concerns.
stated, "The Hopi Tribe is assuming a lot about this
project. These are poisonous gases ... from the coal
fired plants [that will be] deposited into wells 9,000
feet deep for more than a lifetime. Therein lies the
problem. It's just another way to allow these plants to
keep polluting but this time, they would be polluting
our water, not the air."
pretty clever way ... for these companies to get around
tough EPA air emissions control requirements like [Best
Alternative Retrofit Technology] (BART). They are trying
to divert our tribal attention away from the coal plants
polluting the skies and a way to justify the continued
existence of their plants," he added.
Masayesva stated, "This project approved by the Hopi
Council, which will allow the Hopi and Navajo geologic
strata and water reserves to store CO2 is highly
experimental. Hopi and Navajo people have good reason to
suspect that the sequestration model cannot accurately
predict the migration of CO2 We have no idea and neither
do scientists of the true picture of the extent of
damages that can be done to the ground water in the
Black Mesa Basin."
added, "Bottom line, the question that this project and
its supporters must answer to the Hopi and Navajo people
is this: Did the Hopi Tribe actually want the CO2
sequestration on Hopi land, or are they using this
sequestration project as a vehicle to collect mineral
data? If the latter is true, then the Hopi Council has
now acted in bad faith, and this could have serious
consequences for our tribe because it would mean that
SRP, Peabody and the other energy companies along with
Hopi water consultant Joelynn Roberson could be accused
of securing federal money for this project under false
concluded, "What everyone here on Hopi and Navajo should
understand is that once the CO2 is injected into our
reservation homeland ground, it will not be possible to
extract those poisonous gases or stop them from
permeating into our aquifers. Our aquifers will be
forever poisoned. Future Hopi and Navajo generations
will pay the price for a few measly dollars that these
Hopi council members want. This is what I call
eight Hopi Council members who approved the project
included: Nada Talayumptewa, Phillip Quochytewa, Norman
Honanie, Danny Honanie, Everett Calnimptewa, Wayne
Kuwanhoiyoma, Velma Kelyesva and Arvin Puhuyesva.
information meeting sponsored by the InterTribal
COALition group to discuss this topic will be held at
the Hotevilla Youth and Elderly Center at 10 a.m. on
Friday, Aug. 6. A meal will be provided and all Hopi and
Navajo tribal members are encouraged to come to share
their opinions and concerns regarding this project.