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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Friday, September 03, 2004

Peabody Coal attempting to drain more resources from Black Mesa

In, the past, we've covered the struggle of Black Mesa residents as they've fought the exploitation of their territory by Peabody Coal.

Peabody Coal taps the Navajo Aquifer, which lies underneath the Black Mesa lands. The water is pumped aboveground where the coal is extracted, crushed and pumped in a slurry mixture, through a 273 mile pipeline, to Southern California Edison's Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nevada. The coal produces 3% of Southern California's electricity. The average draw, from the Navajo Aquifer, is 3.3 million gallons a day.

Peabody Coal must submit applications to the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) whenever they want new permits. This alert, about that process and what Peabody Coal is now seeking, comes courtesy of the Black Mesa Water Coalition.

We URGENTLY need YOUR VOICE!!

Write a LETTER or download a postcard & send it to OSM the PUBLIC COMMENTING period ends SEPT. 15th, 2004!!!

Peabody Coal Company is asking the Office Of Surface Mining (OSM) for:

-MORE Black Mesa COAL! Peabody is proposing a 20% increase in coal production
-MORE WATER! They want 6,600 acre-feet from the Coconino Aquifer, an aquifer that supplies water to many Northern Arizona communities and springs.
-CONTINUED USE of the N-AQUIFER! Continued pumping of the Navajo Aquifer through 2008, if not indefinitely!
- a COAL WASHING facility! This facility would use potential drinking water and fill impoundments with toxic materials
-Sealed MINING RIGHTS! Peabody seeks to seal in mining rights until at least 2025 -and MORE! For a copy of Peabody's application contact our office.

SEND your COMMENTS to:

Jerry D. Gavette, Black Mesa/Kayenta Mine Team Leader
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
P.O. Box 46667 Denver, Colorado 80201-6667
  or E-mail your comments to Jerry Gavette at: BlackMesa_Comments@osmre.gov
and

Honorable Gale Norton, Secretary
U.S. Department of Interior
18 th & C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20240

For more information Contact Us or Black Mesa Trust www.blackmesatrust.org

Here's is another release from Black Mesa Trust

YOU CAN HELP STOP AND ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURAL TRAGEDY
An environmental and cultural tragedy is occurring on the Hopi and Navajo reservations in Northeastern Arizona. For over 30 years, Peabody Coal Company has pumped 1.3 billion gallons of pure drinking water from the Navajo Aquifer beneath Black Mesa. Already, more than 40 billion gallons of water -- enough to sustain the entire Hopi Tribe for over 350 years -- have been pumped to move coal from Black Mesa to the Mohave Generating Station in Nevada, 273 miles away.

In addition, Peabody has constructed 222 ponds or impoundments, eight of which hold 4,400 acre feet (af) of water. Peabody's impoundments and groundwater pumping have drastically reduced flows through once perennial washes -- such as Moencopi -- and have caused vital springs to go dry. Peabody denies any major impacts, but Hopi and Navajo residents have seen dramatic decreases in the water availability for even the most basic of their needs.

A GROWING THREAT
In spite of mounting opposition and thousands of comments submitted to the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) in 2002, Peabody -- the world's largest coal company -- continues to seek more resources, more water.
In July 2004, Peabody submitted a revision application to OSM to combine Black Mesa mine into its Kayenta Mine. With this application, Peabody seeks to:
- Increase its coal production by 20%;
- Build a coal washing facility that will use precious drinking water and fill impoundments used by farmers with toxic materials;
- Lock in mining rights until at least 2025;
- Tap into 6,600 af of the Coconino Aquifer which supplies water to many Northern Arizona cities and numerous Grand Canyon springs, and
- Continue pumping from the N-Aquifer through 2008, if not indefinitely.
The Office of Surface Mining is accepting public comments on Peabody's application until September 15, 2004.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Send a message today:
Sign and mail the attached postcards. Or better yet, write your own letter.

Join us! Send contributions to:
Black Mesa Trust, P.O. Box 30456
Flagstaff, AZ 86003-0456

Get involved:
Peabody Coal reported profits of 2.8 billion dollars in 2003, while more than half the reservation residents live below the poverty line. Contact Black Mesa Trust at 928.213.9009 to volunteer your time.
SEND your COMMENTS to:

Jerry D. Gavette, Black Mesa/Kayenta Mine Team Leader
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
P.O. Box 46667 Denver, Colorado 80201-6667

Or E-mail your comments to Jerry Gavette at:
BlackMesa-Comments@osmre.gov

Also send them to:
Honorable Gale Norton, Secretary
U.S. Department of Interior
18 th & C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20240

SAMPLE POSTCARD TEXT:
Dear Mr. Gavette (or Secretary Norton),

Please accept these comments on Peabody Coal Company's recent mine application to the Office of Surface Mining. I urge you to treat Peabody's request as a new permit application, instead of a revision because of the adverse impacts it will have on the land, water, and cultures of Black Mesa.

Peabody's application is incomplete and must be subject to a new Environmental Impact Statement and Endangered Species Act review. Furthermore, Peabody must carry the burden of establishing that their application is in compliance with all federal, state, tribal, and local regulatory programs.

Despite substantial evidence that proves the negative impacts of Peabody's pumping from the N-Aquifer and in the face public demand that pumping from the Navajo Aquifer stop by the end of 2005, Peabody insists on using the N-Aquifer through 2008, if not indefinitely. Additionally, Peabody seeks to tap into another fresh water source, the Coconino Aquifer, for transporting and washing coal. The use of drinking water for this purpose is unacceptable.

The federal government has a special trust responsibility to Native American tribes. I urge you to live up to this responsiblity and deny Peabody's request.

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME and ADDRESS]

Black Mesa Trust

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