Kayenta Mine, Photography by: EcoFlight

Since the Black Mesa mine closed in 2005 and the Kayenta mine in 2019, efforts to return mined land to its pre-mining condition have been far from successful. Moreover, it is still unclear whose responsibility it is to reclaim groundwater aquifers that have been destroyed or depleted due to the mining. The window to fix that is closing. Peabody has submitted applications for the Black Mesa mine to permanently release the company from reclamation liability on nearly 3,000 acres of land.

Peabody and officials from the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) have disregarded the traditional ecological knowledge crucial to restoring the landscape and ignored the lifeways of the residents who have specific expectations for reclamation. Without adequately consulting with the people who live on Black Mesa, the company has planted grasses based on grazing expectations in the Mid-west instead of trying to achieve a diversity that mimics the native rangelands.

OSMRE will hold an in-person public meeting to discuss the two proposed Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) performance bond release applications. The bond release applications submitted by Peabody Western Coal Company (PWCC) request the release of Phase I bond and liability on 929 acres and Phase II bond and liability on 2,650 acres at the Kayenta Mine.

On Thursday, June 9, 2022, Tó Nizhóní Ání organized a virtual info session to give an update on Black Mesa reclamation as we prepared for the upcoming OSMRE public meeting on September 27th at Forest Lake Chapter. To view the recorded info session, check out our Facebook page or Google Drive. If you’d like to make a public comment, check out the talking points here.


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

8 AM -12 PM MDT (Rez time)

Forest Lake Chapter House

(17 miles north of Pinon, Arizona on N41)

If you are unable to make the in-person public meeting but would like to submit a comment please email your comment to Amy Ryser with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement at

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Tó Nizhóní Ání “Sacred Springs Speaks”