Volume 21, Number 7
Fannie Lou Hamer
Winter Soldier II
Behind the Scenes
Center for constitutional rights -- Ccr
CÃ©sar cuauhtÃ©moc GarcÃÂa hernÃ¡ndez
Pentagon's Toxic Legacy
Jeffrey st. Clair
Vietnam to Dude...
Body of War
Soldiers of Reason
Zinn's American Empire
Vision - Cooling Planet
Chomsky, Pappé Interview
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A (Desert) Rock By Any Other Name
Glancing at the northwestern corner of New Mexico in snapshots, it's easy to become ensnared in a fantasy of what the Southwest might once have been—a Navajo hogan set against the horizon or framed by a red-faced sandstone cliff, with long stretches of desert broken by two-track roads more akin to horse trails than highways.
But throw in two coal-fired power plants, more than a century of poverty, uranium mines and mills, long stretches of oil and gas fields, and a river that runs less fiercely each year and only then does a realistic picture of the region begin to emerge.
Now, the Desert Rock Energy Company, a subsidiary of Sithe Global Power, and the Navajo Nation's Diné Power Authority hope to build a 1,500 megawatt coal-fired power plant on a Navajo reservation about 30 miles southwest of Shiprock.
At the end of October, Elouise Brown held back tears while overlooking the proposed power plant site; drillers were there, testing the water supplies. As president of the Navajo opposition group, Dooda Desert Rock, Brown regularly checks the area and had recently noticed new, larger pipes stacked near the wellhead.
"I was checking to see what was going to happen," she says. "Within a couple of hours, some more people came in [from Layne-Western]. I was sitting on top of the hill with binoculars, but curiosity got the best of me, so I went down there." They would resume drilling again tomorrow, she was told, and they would drill for ten hours.
So two days before Halloween, Brown watched the drillers from a nearby hill. She described the goings on to a friend on her cellphone: "I'm watching the water just sprinkle out into the open," she said. "It's going to be happening for ten hours and it's really sad."
While the tribal government supports Desert Rock as a much-needed economic development project for the tribe, Brown says Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr. and the tribal council don't speak for her or the growing numbers of Navajo who have come to stand with her in the fight against the power plant.
"The more I think about it, I'm thinking these guys don't give a hoot about us, not just us in Burnham, but the Navajo Nation in general," she says. "If they did, they wouldn't be doing what they're doing." Of course, she says, the Navajo people would prefer local jobs, "as long as you're not killing us with pollution."
At the end of July, Governor Bill Richardson (
The company was disappointed in
And who is going to pay the plant's $3 billion price tag? "It will come from investors," says Maisano. "We're hopeful that up to 25 to 49 percent will come from the Navajo Nation, which has the ability to take an equity stake in the project." (Yes, that's right, the Navajo tribe—with a 44 percent unemployment rate and a median family income of $11,885—is expected to come up with between $750 million and $1.47 billion.)
The plant is expected to release some ten million metric tons of carbon each year. How will the state of
Meanwhile, environmentalists are mounting their own fight against the plant, citing issues of air quality (San Juan County's air quality is already comparable to urban areas), environmental justice (the area's poor, Navajo residents already live near refineries, mines, tens of thousands of gas wells, and two coal plants), and carbon emissions (which affect climate change).
"The raw arrogance and threatening posture of Sithe Global, LLC in these exchanges constitute a classic case of promoters of private profit projects reviling front-line, public employees charged with safeguarding the environment and upholding the public trust," writes Cone in an e-mail of his own. "The fact that such machinations have become commonplace cannot mitigate for the severe impacts of this intended assault by [Desert Rock Energy Facility] promoters on the natural environment and the practice of good government."
Meanwhile, Elouise Brown will keep checking the site.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.