Petition: Black Mesa Project Process Re-opened!

( – promoted by navajo)


Critical Deadline Only Days Away! Please Act Now to stop the proposed Black Mesa Project: Peabody Coal Company’s massive coal-mining expansion plans on the Dine’ (Navajo) & Hopi peoples sacred ancestral homelands of Black Mesa, AZ. Your voices are urgently needed before the comment period closes July 7, 2008!

The following action alert is from The Black Mesa Water Coalition:

Dear friends and relatives,

Please take a few minutes to read and hopefully respond! We have being trying our best to handle the railroading tactics of Peabody, the Office of Surface Mining and its desire to mine more coal!

Best, BMWC

Black Mesa Project permitting process Re-opened! Deadline for commenting: July 7, 2008.

More action items here

1 Comment

  1. Here are some pertinent comments from some European Parliament members who take note of the UN Declaration and other protections we should have in this regard…

    To: BM KEIS 2 Sent: Monday, July 07, 2008 12:01 AM

    Subject: BMP Draft EIS Comments

    Comments To Office of Surface Mining USA

    Regarding Black Mesa Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Peabody Coal Companys plans to expand coalmining activities on Black Mesa by way of application for Life of mine permit and merger of Kayenta mine and Black Mesa mine: Alternative B.


    Dennis Winterringer

    Western Regional Office

    Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement

    P.O. Box 46667

    Denver, CO 80201-6667

    Phone: 303-844-1400, ext 1440


    The European Parliament Bruxelles July 4th 2008

    Dear Mr Winterringer and Associates

    It is with great concern that we write to you today, on July 4th 2008.

    It has been brought to our attention that Peabody Coal Company, through application process with the Office of Surface Mining in the USA, are aiming to

    reopen the Black Mesa Coal-mine and are pursuing alternative B in the OSM

    BMP-DEIS, after the abandonment of alternative A in 2007.

    As we have understood it, alternative B will merge the now operating Kayenta coal- mine, with the now closed Black Mesa coal-mine, into one large open-pit coal-mine and that Peabody Coal Company’s application  consists of a Life of Mine Permit, and an expansion of these two mines, now merged into one large open-pit mine.

    The now preferred alternative B, will mean that the coal from this new expanded coal mine, will be burned at a powerplant in Page, Arizona, to generate electricity.

    It is unclear to us, at this moment, as to what source of water will be used in the industrial process of washing and transporting the coal.

    We regret the fact that your departments even considers expanded mining of coal and burning coal, at this time. Our opinion is based on both the global impact of climate change as well as universal human rights and fundamental religious freedom.

    We are at a very difficult and crucial point in the history of mankind. A time when it is of paramount importance, that we as the human family, work together to find responsible sustainable alternatives to generate energy and find ways to use electricity in a more

    responsible and efficient way. The unsustainable and excessive use of the worlds natural resources and the wasteful approach in how developed countries use energy, must come to an end. We have to start thinking about how coming generations are going to be able to sustain themselves.

    At present time we are in fact using the natural resource capital of our children and grandchildren.

    A majority of the worlds climate experts and scientists are now certain that burning of fossil fuels to a large part has created the devastating impacts of Global Warming and Climate Change, that we now experience around the world.


    We feel it would be very helpful, if the highly advanced technology and capacity that developed countries possess, instead could be invested into developing responsible sustainable alternative energy production, such as for instance wind, sun and water power, as well as energy saving.

    The environmental impacts of mining coal in a high desert region and using the already scarce water sources for industrial means, is highly likely to negatively impact fragile natural hydrological systems, vegetation and airquality, and add to further decline to already stressed eco-systems, that has been affected by previous mining on Black Mesa.

    Additionally, Black Mesa region has for a long period of time experienced a prolonged draught, that further complicates the lives of everyone who lives on Black Mesa.

    We also have to concider the global impact, when the coal is burned and a substantial increase of CO2 emmissions, will be released into the athmosphere, contributing to the global climate crisis that we are all trying our best to find ways to solve.

    As we see it, it will be next to impossible to carry out any form of effective recovery process, after such an extensive mining operation.

    Our concerns are also great for the negative impacts this proposed mining operation will have on the  Dineh ( Navajo) and Hopi peoples who lives on Black Mesa.

    These Indigenous Nations represents two totally irreplaceable cultures that are of great importance to both the North American continent and the world.

    Previous mining activities over the 30 year timeperiod that Peabody Coal Company, has operated the Black Mesa mine, accompanied with US relocation programmes, have had serious negative impacts on the traditional Dineh and Hopi communities.

    The traditional Hopi and Dineh ( Navajo) communities, have experienced unfathomable hardships during the whole time-period that Peabody Coal Company has operated in the area.

    Coal-mining on Black Mesa devastated their traditional livelihoods, their culture and way of life, their environment, their health, their spiritual or religious practices and the relocation process has split up their families. It is safe to say that the relocation practices accompanied with constant surveillance of their daily lives, as well as threats and harassments from authorities, has made stress, fear, worries and sickness, their constant companions, in everyday life. Living with the factors of this kind of stress and fear a long time, causes many kinds of diseases, alone. Adding to poor health is also the coal-dust in the air, the depletion of their water supply and water and soil contamination from the mining activities. Further complicating their situation is the loss of important herbs that has been used for curing healthproblems since time immemorial.

    It is today, widely known and recognized, that Indigenous Peoples religion and spiritual practices, that is the foundation for their everyday life, are inexorably tied to the land where they were born, and where their ancestors and relatives, has lived their lives and been laid to rest.

    The traditional Dineh and Hopi communities have peacefully resisted US relocation policies and coalmining for a very long time. Their endurance, which to us is remarkable, is deeply and strongly founded in their religious world of understanding, that pertains to Indigenous Peoples responsibility as stewards and caretakers of their ancestral lands on Mother Earth.

    In this case special emphasis on protecting Black Mesa from exploitation by outside forces is part of a long tradition. Oral history explains that if “outside forces” succeed in exploiting and destroying vast areas of Black Mesa ” the entire world will suffer and maybe perish”.

    This conviction is the true reason why they have resisted US relocation policies and coal mining, for more than 30 years, now. Their undertaking is all about upholding

    traditional responsibility for their ancestral Lands and their fundamental birthright, in accordance with their original spiritual teachings, and with deep consideration for generations to come.

    When, for instance  a Dineh ( Navajo) baby is born, family members bury the umbilical cord in the ground, thus signifying that the child will forever be tied to and dependent of the Land upon which he/she was born.

    So this is a couple of the reasons why, relocation of traditional Indigenous Peoples are so destructive.

    In this long process they have suffered severe hardships and as far as we know, never reaped any profit from Peabody Coal Companys activities on Black Mesa, that can in any way compensate for their losses.

    People have lived on Black Mesa for thousands of years.

    There exists a large amount of irreplaceable sacred sites, burial grounds and important sites of great cultural heritage value, that are at great risk of being destroyed, if mining activities will be allowed to start and expand.

    Black Mesa is a church, its is a school and its a hospital, to the Indigenous Peoples, and indeed a Sacred Site.

    We believe that the coal-mining activities will indeed violate the Indigenous Peoples right to freedom of religion.

    In the year of 1998, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Religious Freedom and Tolerance; Mr Abdelfattah Amor, made an official visit in the traditional communities on Black Mesa.

    In his report to the UN Commission;  On Human Rights in the United States; E/CN.4/1999/58/Add.1, the Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance Mr Abdelfattah Amor

    presented the detrimental impacts to the Indigenous Peoples of “damage to [sacred] sites due to the execution or attempted execution of economic projects”, noting “a real lack of understanding and consideration and an indifference and even hostility on the part of the various officials and other parties involved” (para. 62). #

    According to Mr Amor, these are the main texts guaranteeing religious freedom in the U.S. Constitution, namely:

    – Article VI which prohibits religious tests for any office or public trust, and

    – The 1st Amendment which guarantees the free exercise of religion and prohibits the    establishment of religion

    Further his report included an analysis of various federal and state legislation  and court decisions that:

    – protected religious freedom

    – oppressed specific faith groups

    – acted to separate state and church

    On the specific issue of Native American Spirituality, Mr. Abdelfattah Amor reported that Natives “are without any doubt the community facing the most problematical situation, one inherited from a past of denial of their religious identity, in particular through a policy of assimilation, which most Native Americans insist on calling genocide (physical liquidation, religious conversion, attempts to destroy their traditional way of life, laying waste of land, etc Natives also experience unique problems, including:

    –          their faith requires them to access specific locations of the country. This is often denied by landowners, including the federal government. In other areas, these sacred sites have been destroyed by economic projects.

    –          They are often refused the return of the remains of their ancestors.

    Some problems Mr Amor stated, are:

    Native Americans: Past Government programs of Native assimilation into mainline society continue to have adverse effects. Although there have been some new laws passed to protect Native spirituality, they have serious shortcomings.

    1.       Reference; Abdelfattah Amor, “CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, Addendum, Visit to the United States of America,” United Nations document E/CN.4/1999/58/Add.1, 1998-DEC-9.

    There are several fundamental laws, declarations and conventions, to take into consideration in this case.

    We wish to call to your attentition, the recently adopted UN Declaration for Indigenous Peoples Rights, that were adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 13th of September 2007, after 20 years of tireless work by Indigenous representatives from all over the world, that states:

    Article 10

    Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or

    territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and

    informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after

    agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with

    the option of return.

    Please see attachment nr 1, for further articles in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and find articles that applies in this case.

    The full text of the UN Declaration for Indigenous Peoples Rights and Fundamental Freedom, can be found at:

    As adopted by the majority of the member nation states of The UN General Assembly.

    Constitutional rights regarding freedom of religion and possibilities to exercise such freedoms will be violated if alternative B will be permitted.

    Considering the fact that many Europeans emigrated to America, did so exactly in order to finally be able to express their religious freedom, it would be highly ironical and especially devastating to the US reputation if your department would now deny and sacrifice, the lands original habitants the same freedom only for the sake of a coal-mine. Such actions would maybe even spark new trade disputes between the US and EU since products whose manufacture include the use of raw materials extracted in violation on UN-conventions can hardly be permitted on the European market.

    For all of the above mentioned reasons, we strongly oppose granting permission to Peabody Coal Company’s application for Life Of Mine Permit on Black Mesa in Arizona, and ask that OSM deny and dismiss alternative B of the BMP-DEIS.

    We ask that Alternative C- Which means – No Action, instead be the preferred choice.

    For the sake of future Generations Life on Earth and for All Our Relations.

    Respectfully submitted by the undersigned:

    Mr Carl Schlyter  

    Member of the European Parliament


    Rue Wiertz 60

    B-1047 Belgium

    Mr Anders Wijkman

    Member of the European Parliament

    Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

    Temporary Committee on Climate Change

    ( Secretary-General of the Swedish Red Cross (1979-1988) and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (1989-1991); Director-General of the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries (1992-1994). Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (since 1998).

    Assistant Secretary-General of united Nations and Policy Director of UNDP (1995-1997), Vice-Chairman of Committee on Development and Cooperation (2002-2004). Member of the Swedish Parliament (1971-1978, the list goes on. )

    Bât. Altiero Spinelli


    60, rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60

    B-1047 Bruxelles/Brussel Belgium

    Ms Carina Gustafsson


    52291 Tidaholm


    Scandinavian Forum for Indigenous

    Peoples Rights

    And Wild-Oak Network

    Mrs Eva Goes

    Former member of

    The Swedish Parliament

    Executive Director

    Green Forum Intl

    Sveriges riksdag,

    100 12 Stockholm


    Mrs Bodil Ceballos

    Member of Swedish Parliament

    Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs

    Green Party

    Sveriges riksdag,

    100 12 Stockholm


    Mrs Akko Karlsson

    Member of Sweden National Green board

    Vice chairwomen of Kalmar Regional Council

    (Fossil free region 2030   …

    594 93 Gamleby – Sweden

    Mrs Kerstin Engle

    Member of Swedish Parliament

    Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs

    Social Democratic Party

    Sveriges riksdag,

    100 12 Stockholm


    Carmen Blanco Valer


    Vice Chair of Latin America Groups

    ( former UBV )


    Elizabeth Karlsson-Good

    Wild-Oak Network

    Kallang, Timmele


    Please respond to all of the above listed e-mail adresses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.