New Mexico tribes consider impact of energy and land use

This story from the Santa Fe New Mexican caught my eye. Long story short, members of the Navajo and Hopi tribes in northeastern Arizona have long relied on coal to heat their homes are looking to other sources after last year’s closure of a coal mine.

We know that closing coal mines is a top priority of the environmental movement. But, as the article notes, this mine closure has made life more difficult for tribal members who, “In the first winter without it, are having to travel farther for coal, switching to firewood or even burning household items to stay warm.”

Burning “household items” for warmth is likely not very “green” (even less so than burning coal in a home stove for heat).

In other tribal news from the same are of our State, Navajo lawmakers opted to support a much smaller buffer around Chaco Canyon than had been supported by environmentalists and members of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation (or do I repeat myself?)

On an 18-1 vote the buffer size approved by the Tribe is half of that supported by the NM Congressional delegation. An inability to benefit from oil and gas (and mineral) leasing on the land was the primary reason for the Tribe’s decision.

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