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 Kayenta mine to permanently release the company from reclamation liability on over 1,500 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 Midwest 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 305 acres of J19 and J21, and Phase II bond and liability on 1,262 acres at the Kayenta Mine.

Meeting Details:

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2023

Location: Forest Lake Chapter House (outdoors)

Time: 9 AM to 12 PM MDT (Navajo rez time)

For more information on a Bond Release and Liability, check out our recorded info session from 2022 discussing other areas up for Bond Release. Please note that the information in the video is from another area of bond release. The sentence above in bold reflects the current area being discussed on Thursday, August 24, 2023.

Link to Peabody applications:…/regulating-active…/indian-lands (scroll down to “Kayenta Mine Complex).

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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