Ruling: Peabody Coal May Continue Discharge of
Pollutants Into Navajo-Hopi Washes

by D.A. Morales
Tucson Citizen
10 October 2011

The sacred land in northeastern Arizona belonging to the Navajo and Hopi has long been exploited and polluted by Peabody Coal.

It looks as if it will continue to be that way.

TEP coal-plant at Alvernon and I-10

If you use water in Tucson, or use electricity in Tucson then you are using energy from those coal mines to pump water here via the CAP canal connecting Tucson to the Colorado River, and of course in the huge Tucson Electric Power coal-powered plant near Alvernon and I-10.

We are part of the reason Peabody is exploiting coal from the Native American reservations which is leading to the polluting of their water, and now the problem is about to worsen.

A coal mining company can continue sending treated storm

water from its northeastern Arizona operation into nearby washes and tributaries after an appeals board denied a review of the discharge permit. Environmentalists and members of the Navajo and Hopi tribes had appealed the permit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued for Peabody Energy Corp.’s mining complex. They argued to an administrative appeals board that the discharge of heavy metals and pollutants threatens water resources that Navajo and Hopi communities depend on for drinking, farming and ranching, and that the EPA failed to impose limits.
via Business Week

TEP coal-plant, Alvernon and I-10
If the Tucson city council was made up of smart people they would realize that it is very possible to turn off Tucson’s dependence on coal plants that exploit the Navajo and Hopi people and switch to other power resources, such as from the sun which we have plenty of in the Sonoran desert.

“As usual, Peabody is putting profits before the health of the environment and the concerns of local residents,” he said.

The mining complex sits on nearly 65,000 acres that Peabody leases from the Navajo and Hopi tribes and has been in operation since the 1970s. Beth Sutton, a spokeswoman for Peabody, said the decision “reinforces Peabody’s record of compliance with the Clean Water Act and that claims by activists had no basis.”

Water discharge from Peabody’s mining complex includes storm water and runoff from mining, coal preparation and reclamation areas that is held in more than 230 ponds. The EPA noted in reviewing the permit that about 33 of the ponds had leaks and that some don’t meet water quality standards, need additional monitoring or removal.

Jonathan Rothschild The trail of toxic tears continues as we continue to exploit the original inhabitants of this land to fuel our addiction to cheap energy. But some day that finite energy source will run out, or be cut off, and then Tucson will be cast into darkness as businesses and jobs flee the city.

My hope is that our next mayor, Jonathan Rothschild, can be a leader in transforming our dependence on coal and fossil fuels and switching to solar or other renewable energy resources, guaranteeing business the energy they need without the exploitation of indigenous people to do so.



Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law.