“Dooda” means no. On April 15th we were invited to a mid-day dinner and rally hosted by Eloise Brown, President of Dooda Desert Rock, and other elders from the region who have been fighting to protect their land from a new coal-fired power plant since late 2006. Under the tent were grandmothers, fathers, mothers, graduate students, organizers, and children scurrying around with ice cream smiles. On stage were local native elders, guest speakers, and musicians. The focus of the dinner was to celebrate a recent decision by the New Mexico Legislature to deny an $85 million tax credit for Sithe Global to build the Desert Rock coal plant. The December blockade has now transformed into an ongoing vigil and witness with supporters coming through from time to time to learn and stand with these women.
I traveled to the proposed Desert Rock coal plant site with Wahleah Johns of the Black Mesa Water Coalition who spoke at the dinner.
Last week Dooda Desert Rock won another small victory when the Sanostee Navajo Chapter passed a resolution opposing the power plant.
Navajo chapter comes out against proposed power plant (24 Apr 2007/Santa Fe New Mexican)
by jsefick on Fri 27 Apr 2007 07:26 AM PDT
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 24, 2007
SANOSTEE, N.M. (AP) – A Navajo community in northwestern New Mexico has issued a resolution in opposition to a proposed $3 billion coal-fired power plant, but a tribal lawmaker says the community’s concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
Jerry Bodie, a delegate who represents the Sanostee Chapter, said a few dozen of the chapter’s 1,500 voters showed up at meeting this month and passed the resolution against the Desert Rock Energy Project.
Bodie said he took the chapter’s message to the Tribal Council last week, and each delegate received a copy.
“They didn’t listen to it and they think the power plant is good for all the people,” Bodie said.
Critics claim the plant will add pollution to a region that already has two existing coal-fired plants, but Desert Rock supporters argue that the opposition represents a minority and that the Navajo Nation as a whole supports the project.
Houston-based Sithe Global and the tribe’s Dine Power Authority have partnered on the project. It’s expected to bring in about $55 million each year for the Navajo Nation and provide about 400 permanent jobs.
The Sanostee resolution requests a comprehensive health study of residents living within a 60-mile radius of coal-fired power plants. Sanostee is about 12 miles west of the proposed site, Bodie said.
The resolution also urges the Navajo Nation to consider alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power, in place of the plant.
A draft environmental impact statement on the proposed plant is expected in several weeks, and the resolution asks that public hearings on the document be held in Sanostee.