Water Is Life
Our organization’s establishment results from years of misuse and abuse of Black Mesa's ice age-old pristine groundwater by Peabody Energy. The Navajo-Aquifer (N-Aquifer) is the only source of drinking water for the people of Black Mesa. Peabody’s two mining operations, Black Mesa Mine and Kayenta Mine have relied on the groundwater for over 45 years. The Black Mesa Mine was the only mine in the US that used potable water to transport coal in a slurry 275 miles to Mohave Generating Station (MGS) in Laughlin, Nevada. MGS was shut down in 2005 and Black Mesa Mine soon after. Our work consisted of educating and bringing awareness to our local communities on Black Mesa and our tribal leadership in Window Rock, Arizona. Through our efforts, the Black Mesa Mine no longer transports coal via a slurry line to MGS. Black Mesa water and coal have been the driving force behind the growth and expansion of the entire Southwest for cities such as Phoenix and Tucson in Southern AZ. Unfortunately, our work does not stop here. We need to continue to ensure our water’s protection for generations to come. Tó Bee Iiná. Water is Life.
Today, our organization focuses on mine/plant and water reclamation on Black Mesa in the wake of NGS and the Kayenta Mine closure. TNA wants to ensure favorable environmental outcomes for the planet decommissioning and mine reclamation to meet the baseline measures. These baseline measures are tribal employment and community acceptance for cleanup and restoration of land and water damaged by decades of plant and mine operations. We are pushing for Peabody and the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to make public their mine closure and reclamation plans and work schedules for these activities. Within these plans, we are pushing for OSM to factor in real-world water measurements rather than those coming from Peabody for any decision-making on reclamation. We are demanding that Peabody reclassify their coal ash disposal site that ensures its complete remediation along with water measurements. Finally, we urge the repatriation of all Black Mesa artifacts removed when mining operations began on Black Mesa.
Just & Equitable Transition
The closure of NGS in 2019 and the subsequent closure of the Kayenta Mine are our organization's focus today. TNA is initiating efforts that will prepare the Diné people for the significant loss of jobs and revenue, marking the end of the Navajo Nation’s fossil-fueled economy. TNA advocates for the Navajo Nation economy's diversification by developing renewable energy and building capacity within local communities to have full ownership in sustainable energy projects. Our work incorporates youth leadership by creating opportunities for participation in government affairs, stakeholder meetings, and community projects. TNA supports community agriculture and farming projects such as cornfield restoration, building gabion dams, and threats to our traditional food systems from GMOs, herbicides, pesticides, and monoculture crops. We seek to keep our traditional Diné lifeways, language, and culture alive through a Just Transition.
As a coalition, we are all working toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector and ensuring all fossil fuel generation is replaced with clean, renewable resources leading to a low carbon future. We recognize the environmental and economic toll that decades of exploitation and resource extraction by outside interests have taken on the Navajo Nation. We recognize that as we advance, we will be faced with continued efforts to extract resources on the Navajo Nation by outside interests and today by tribal enterprises that do not have the best part of the Diné who live and rely on the land for their livelihood. We are aligned collectively with our Navajo NGO partners' priorities and their ongoing efforts to build a sustainable Indigenous economy founded on the principles of Diné Fundamental Law. We are working to provide the resources, expertise, and tools necessary to achieve the desired emissions reductions and the broad goals of protecting the air, land, water, and living beings sacred to the Diné; of ensuring health and prosperity for the Diné people; and creating a just and sustainable future for the Nation.