Opinion - Navajo Times - April 6, 2006

Degradation of the environment is underway

I sit here and think about L. Marie Justice’s letter entitled “Don’t be fooled by environmentalists” (Letters, March 30, 2006).

Her opinion grips my mind and my belief of what I have learned in this society known as education. For many years I have sat in my classes, listening to distinguished professors and instructors about the environmental changes and impacts on everyone in the near future.

Then I think of the elders’ wisdom and teachings: Do not bother the Mother Earth, let her natural resources be unified and in harmony within the limits of life.

I don’t know about Justice’s knowledge and education about global warming, but in reality, it is happening and alive. But I am sure Justice is thinking of the royalties and the financial resources lost because of the shutdown and we want to blame the environmentalists.

For me, I always considered the elders of our nations to be the “environmentalists” of our culture. They hallways have the notation and loyalty in Mother Earth and the respect for Mother Earth.

The elders beaded the wisdom into respect Mother Earth in return becoming a value harmony person with strong ties to the Mother Earth. While Black Mesa Coal Mine pumped tons of groundwater to support the energy use in Las Vegas, Nev., Los Angeles, or Phoenix, many of the homes on the Navajo Reservation are without electricity or running water.

How much is too little or too much for natural resources to be abused or depleted by big energy companies such as Peabody or the Bush administration?

The money will never amount of where we are at today, we should not have a price for our natural resources to be exploited nor touched again.

I do commend the strength and strong culture of traditions within the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who have fought the big energy companies for not letting them exploit their lands for natural resources.

I think instead of Justice’s campaign for “don’t be fooled by environmentalists,” she should change her motto to “don’t be fooled by Bush or energy companies or by me.”

Learn more about environmental changes and impacts, the corruption among governments and energy companies within Indian territory or listen to your elders. I suggest the reading of April 3, 2006, Time Magazine entitled “Be Worried, Very Worried.”

Mike Young Bear
Albuquerque, N.M.
(hometown: Shonto, Ariz.)


Reply to letter above:

We all know what assume really means

In response to my native brother Shush Yazh’s letter of April 6, 2006, when one states “I am sure Justice is thinking about the royalties” (no brainer), when one states I am sure they are making an assumption and most of us know when one assumes what A-S-S-U-M-E truly means (Letters: “Degradation of the environment is underway,” by Mike Young Bear).

The statement about listening to educated professors who surely are brighter than the rest of us is one of which baffles me as well.

When the green people decide to base all their beliefs on a few individuals who continue to live in the tired old world of what surface mining used to be and spend absolutely no time educating themselves on what it is now.

At the same time, these people absolutely refuse to accept the educated, expertly trained, professional people who made 12 individual studies of the Navajo Aquifer and deemed them not to be affecting the water table and the aquifer replenishing rate is sufficient to not harm the aquifer.

Most of us at the mine are traditionalist and believe “Mother Earth” is providing us with the essentials of life to take care of our elderly and our children and this is the reason we stay here on our land providing for our extended families.

Due to the tremendous migration of our youth away from their homelands, most are losing contact with their traditional beliefs and choose to dilute our beliefs to fit their circumstance.

Brother Shush, the next time you flip the light switch, open the tap for a drink of water, go to the fridge, set the thermostat for that comfy feeling of the easy life, think about all your relatives on the nation who don’t have water, don’t have electricity, who are giving up electricity because it costs too much, that must eat government peanut butter and cheese.

Ask yourself why you are not here making a difference. It’s easier to criticize from afar.

L. Marie Justice
Page, Ariz.

posted at the Navajo Times, 13 April 2006


Secret agreement calls for grassroots to speak out

The Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, and owners of Mohave Generating Station and Peabody Coal Co. have secretly agreed to allow use of the (Navajo) Aquifer for mining and transporting coal to the Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nev.

Under the proposed settlement agreement, 8,000 acre-feet per year of N-Aquifer water will be reserved in the “N-Aquifer Bank.” The amount will increase annually in the amount of 1,800 acre-feet per year for the first six years and “1,000 acre-feet per year thereafter.”

In addition, but separate from the water bank, Peabody will use 500-acre feet per year as long as mining continues. This amounts to 163,000 gallons each year.

The complicated settlement, a result of lengthy mediation to keep Mohave open, has many other features, such as promises by Hopi and Navajo not to impose new taxes (severance, possessory and business activity tax) against owners of Mohave and Peabody.

The settlement also prevents Hopi people from suing Peabody for damages to the N-Aquifer. In other words, Peabody will not be held liable for ongoing contamination of the N-Aquifer, and the overdraft of our pristine sole-source water supply.

From 1970 to 2005, Peabody has been pumping all natural recharge to the confined N-Aquifer (3,500 acre-feet per year, according to USGS monitoring) and is using over 500 acre-feet per year from stored water.

Fortunately, the “agreed result of mediation” is subject to approval by the Hopi Tribe. This means that you, we, the grassroots people, must approve the settlement before it is executed.

I urge all of you to request your council representatives to give you a full explanation of the terms endorsed by our negotiators, just to save the Mohave Generating Station.

Vernon Masayesva
Kykotsmovi, Ariz

Masayesva is executive director of the Black Mesa Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the water resources of the Hopi and Navajo people.


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posted 16 april 2006 by louve14