Coal Ash

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Coal extraction is the raw mining of coal from deep within the soil to transport to power plants. The extraction, transportation, and burning of coal create high pollution levels by expanding the concentration of toxic and carcinogenic heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, vanadium, chromium, and radioactive uranium and radon them into the air and the soil. According to formal industry disclosures, of the 265 active coal plants in the Southwest region, 91% were emitting groundwater pollution, leading to unsafe consumption for human use. 

 

Coal Ash is the by-products of raw coal burned to generate electricity in a coal-fired power plant are dangerous and harmful. Studies show that high levels of prolonged exposure to coal ash may significantly harm the environment and animals and cause adverse health effects. Uncovered coal dump sites, the back of an open truck, local rivers, lakes, streams, or nearby forests are ways that communities, particularly Indigenous communities, are exposed to coal ash. Toxic substances from coal can poison groundwater sources and cause harm to wildlife. Health effects from exposure to coal include irritation of the nose and throat, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Long-term exposure can lead to liver damage, kidney damage, cardiac arrhythmia, various cancers, developmental and neurological impacts, and more harmful.

 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), living near a coal ash disposal site can increase your risk of cancer or other diseases. The EPA also discovered that living near ash ponds increases the risk of damage. If you get your drinking water from a well near an unlined wet ash pond, you may have a 1 in 50 chance of getting cancer from drinking arsenic-contaminated water.

 

This environmental damage creates environmental justice issues within the four corners region. These fossil fuel companies are circumnavigating the law and basic environmental ethics to maximize profit within their industry.

Review the Coal Ash Resources

Better Coal Ash Mitigation Practices

Coal Plant Bonding and Financial Liability Report

Federal and State Coal Ash Regulations

Health and Environmental Effects of Coal Ash

Navajo Council Delegate Coal Ash Report

Tribal Coal Ash Regulations

Navajo Nation Coal Ash Public Education Brochure

Navajo Community Voices Interviews

Marie Gladue - A recent interview with a Big Mountain community member speaking on the changes she's seen to the landscape and climate. This is part of a series dedicated to creating a visual voice for the Navajo People whose lives have been impacted by strip mining of coal and their opposition to coal burning power plants on their lands in Northeastern Arizona and the Southwest.

Percy Deal - A recent interview with a Big Mountain resident speaking on changes he's seen in the landscape and climate, and the disruption Peabody Mine caused to the Navajo aquifer and the Navajo communities that depend on this water source. This is part of a series dedicated to creating a visual voice for the Navajo People whose lives have been impacted by strip mining of coal and their opposition to coal burning power plants on their lands in the Southwest.

Louise Benally - Louise talks about her life experience and activism that is based in Navajo cultural values. She also speaks on some of the ongoing issues with reclamation on Black Mesa and damage to the N-aquifer that still needs to be remediated, even two years after the closing of Navajo Generating Station. Navajo and Hopi community groups are asking the Office of Surface Mining for a Significant Permit Revision.

 

This is part of a series dedicated to creating a visual voice for the Navajo People whose lives have been impacted by strip mining of coal and their opposition to coal burning power plants on their lands in Northeastern Arizona and the Southwest.

Joseph Hernandez - Another amazing interview from Navajo community member, Joseph Hernandez, whose work has been instrumental in expanding solar energy opportunities in New Mexico and opening up pathways to energy sovereignty for Native American communities. This is part of a series dedicated to creating a visual voice for the Navajo People whose lives have been impacted by strip mining of coal and their opposition to coal burning power plants on their lands in the Four Corners and Southwest.


Alfred Bennett - A recent interview with a Shiprock community member speaking on the changes he's seen to the landscape and climate. This is part of a series dedicated to creating a visual voice for the Navajo People whose lives have been impacted by strip mining of coal and their opposition to coal burning power plants on their lands in the Four Corners area and the Southwest.

 

Frank Fidel - A recent interview with a Shiprock community member. This is part of a series dedicated to creating a visual voice for the Navajo People whose lives have been impacted by strip mining of coal and their opposition to coal burning power plants on their lands in the Four Corners area and the Southwest.

Kyle Jim - A recent interview with a resident of one of the Northern Navajo communities. This is part of a series dedicated to creating a visual voice for the Navajo People whose lives have been impacted by strip mining of coal and their opposition to coal burning power plants on their lands in the Four Corners area and the Southwest.