Grassroots battle against Peabody sees success

Grassroots activists on the Hopi and Navajo reservations are looking forward to December 31, 2005, with hope and skepticism.

That's the date they hope Peabody Energy's coal mines in northeastern Arizona will stop operating. But even after after decades of lobbying tribal, federal and other officials, they are skeptical that it will actually happen.

The battle over the mines began in the 1970s when residents of the area noticed a drop-off in their water supply. They blamed Peabody, which uses water to transport coal slurry 275 miles to a generating in Nevada, where it is used to power homes in southern California.

Peabody denies it has used up the water and says it has the science to prove it. Grassroots activists, however, have convinced the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation and the Department of Interior to pressure Peabody to find another source.

But the shutdown of the mines has an economic impact that some fear will be hard to resist. According to The Los Angeles Times, one-third of the Hopi tribe's annual general fund, or $7.7 million, and 25% of the Navajo Nation's general operating fund, or $30 million per year, come from the Peabody operation.

Get the Story:
Gathering Clouds (The Los Angeles Times 6/6)

Relevant Links:
Hopi Tribe - http://www.hopi.nsn.us
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org
Peabody Energy - http://www.peabodyenergy.com

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