Indians Criticize Mine's Water Use Hopi and Navajo Want Peabody Coal Company to Seek Alternatives to Thirsty Slurry Pipeline. ARIZONA: WATER DISPUTE

By Lawrence Lack, Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 27, 1990 | Go to article overview

Indians Criticize Mine's Water Use Hopi and Navajo Want Peabody Coal Company to Seek Alternatives to Thirsty Slurry Pipeline. ARIZONA: WATER DISPUTE


Lawrence Lack, Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


AN escalating dispute over water use in arid northern Arizona has strained relations between the Peabody Coal Company and the Hopi and Navajo Indians on whose land the company operates the largest coal mine in the United States.

The tribes say streams, wells, and springs in this already-parched area - including water sources they have used for hundreds of years - are drying up. And although the tribes reap significant economic benefits from the mine, they blame Peabody's thirsty slurry pipeline for the water shortage.

Each hour, around the clock, the Black Mesa Pipeline uses more than 120,000 gallons of water to transport 640 tons of coal from Peabody's Black Mesa-Kayenta Mine to Southern California Edison's Mojave power station in southern Nevada, 273 miles away.

And Peabody's thirst is not slacking. It now wants to expand the mine from its current size of almost 6,500 acres to more than 20,000 acres.

The tribes have moved to block the mine expansion. They want the US Department of the Interior and Peabody to study water-supply problems in the area of the mine and evaluate alternatives to the slurry method of moving coal.

Peabody says there is no scientific evidence of harm to the Navajo Aquifer, the source of its slurry water.

Company spokesman Ed Sullivan points to a recent study by the Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining (OSM) which concludes - on the basis of estimates only - that rainfall usually recharges the Navajo Aquifer every year with about four to five times the amount of water that the slurry pipeline consumes.

In view of this, Mr. Sullivan says, the tribes' requests for more study are "ludicrous." He blames a prolonged drought which he says has reduced Arizona's rainfall by 80 percent over the last year.

Peabody wants to avoid any slowdown in an operation that, from its standpoint, is working well.

In addition to its sales to Southern California Edison, Peabody sells to a power plant at Page, Ariz. And major sales to Japan are expected if the company is given the go-ahead to expand the mine.

The Hopi and Navajo, who share mineral rights where the mine is located, granted Peabody a 35-year mining lease in 1966. The lease states that Peabody can use subsurface water as long as tribal water supplies are not harmed.

Ordinarily the tribes would have to prove that their water was being depleted to make Peabody reduce its water use. But at this point, when Peabody is asking to expand the size of its mine, the OSM must first find that the company is not overusing tribal water.

Peabody claims that OSM's recent estimates are proof enough, but the tribes are not comfortable with estimates, especially while their water seems to be disappearing.

Roughly 80 percent of the Hopi tribal government's revenues are royalties that Peabody pays the tribe for Black Mesa coal. The elected government of the Navajo Nation also receives large royalties from Peabody, and over 900 Navajo and about 25 Hopi are employed at the mine.

But for both tribes these economic benefits are overshadowed by any hint of danger to the waters that have sustained them for centuries in this near-desert region.

Nearly all 15,000 members of the Hopi tribe rely on the Navajo Aquifer for domestic water, and the age-old system of "dry-land farming" that still feeds most Hopi depends on water from the "washes" (seasonal streams), springs, and wells that tribal members say are drying up. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Indians Criticize Mine's Water Use Hopi and Navajo Want Peabody Coal Company to Seek Alternatives to Thirsty Slurry Pipeline. ARIZONA: WATER DISPUTE
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.