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Navajos Cheer EPA Reversal on Desert Rock

(Update: check out the excellent editorial in the Durango Herald)

A significant number of Navajos were thrilled this week at the EPA’s decision to take back the permit it issued last year—under the Bush administration--for the massive coal-fired Desert Rock power plant.

The EPA said sufficient analysis had not been done to ensure protection of health and the environment.

Proposed to be built on Navajo nation lands in New Mexico, the plant would impose a massive industrial complex on the landscape, douse the region with air pollutants, and strain critical water resources.

Nation leaders have endorsed the plant for the jobs it would bring, but a dissident group of Navajo citizens, including the group DineCare, represented by Earthjustice, see things differently:

The Southwest is known for its stunning vistas, wide open spaces, unspoiled landscapes, and personal freedoms to live the life one chooses. Desert Rock is an affront to all of those values and we’re glad that the EPA and the administration have come to realize that.

Existing coal power in the Four Corners region has brought the wrong kind of prosperity to the region and its people, says DineCare:

Contrary to claims that coal has been good for us, it hasn’t. It’s filled the pockets of a few while despoiling our precious land, our water, and our air. Desert Rock would only extend business as usual for another 50 years. We live in a region that is rich in renewable energy resources, especially solar power. That is the future of the Southwest.

DineCare’s solution is a diversified investment in clean energy projects that benefit the Navajo both economically and environmentally, now and in the long run.