Thursday, December 21, 2006

Navajo Police Dismantle Elderly Barricade at Power Plant Site

President Shirley visits Resisters at the Blockade. Dec 18, 2006 (Photo: Lori Goodman) blog.
For immediate release Contacts: Dailan Jake Long 505-801-0713 Elouise Brown 505- 505-947-6159 Lori Goodman 970-259-0199 Navajo Grandmothers Intimidated While Lawfully Gathered Burnham, NM and the Navajo Nation, December 21, 2006 - Paddy wagons, police and other enforcers came and attempted to haul away members of the Navajo Nation - mostly grandmothers - during a prayer ceremony this morning. The women, members of the Dooda (Navajo for "NO!") Desert Rock Committee, have been keeping a vigil at the site of a proposed coal fired power generation station that they oppose for reasons of their families' health and well being. These women were brutally forced out, their food taken away, their camp dismantled this afternoon in clear violation of their constitutional rights and in absence of any form of restraining order or other legal mandate. Although they showed legal documents that protected them, Officer Demsey claimed they were meaningless. They have committed no crimes, were not interfering with any work going on at the location, and were acting within their rights to gather peacefully in the hopes of persuading our Navajo Nation government not to make this kind of mistake again. Their vigil has been going on since December 12th, near the site where Sithe Global Power, a Texas-based energy company, proposes to build the Desert Rock Power Plant. This plant will further damage the air, water and land in the four corners area of the American Southwest, in the heart of the traditional Navajo homeland. Two other plants in the immediate vicinity are among the worst sources of pollution in the United States. Mercury, sulphur dioxide, and dozens of other toxic chemicals are spewed from these plants each day. Incidents of cancer, respiratory disease, reproductive disorders and other illnesses occur here at much higher than average rates. The plants foul the water in a part of the world where water is already scarce. Sithe, in collusion with our Navajo Nation executive office, have strong-armed, threatened, lied to and otherwise coerced our local population to accept this proposed power plant throughout the past two years. Families have had their land taken from them with insufficient compensation to move anywhere else. We've been told, as we've been told many times in the past, that this polluting monster will bring "hundreds of jobs" to the Navajo Nation, and lots of economic benefits. Time after time, we've heard this same lie for too many projects just like this one. After over a hundred years of such development the Navajo people are among the poorest people in the entire United States. Nobody is calculating the costs - to our land, to our air, to our water, to our children. Members of the Dooda Desert Rock Committee, members of Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, and other organizations, have tried to offer alternative solutions. There are cleaner, more sustainable ways to bring prosperity to our people, without sacrificing the lives and well-being of our people. No one has listened. This is not just a local problem. This is big energy companies forcing themselves on the American people. This is a violation of civil rights and an illegal suppression of dissent here at home in the United States. This facility will further pollute the air and water throughout the area. And those who are speaking out in opposition, innocent grandmothers who only care about their families, are being silenced with violence. We ask that all who share our concern about our future, and are tired of being forced to pay the consequences of these corporations and government bodies, who care nothing for the lives of people, please lend us your support. ### The real facts behind Desert Rock by jsefick on Thu 21 Dec 2006 08:34 AM PST The assertion that Sithe would be using high-tech pollution control systems for Desert Rock is a blatant lie when considering that the proposed plant would emit up to 13.7 million tons per year of carbon dioxide, up to 220 pounds per year of mercury and create huge amounts of coal combustion wastes (in the form of ash) which would be disposed of on site (to pollute the air, water and land). Carbon dioxide emissions from the proposed Desert Rock plant would make it the seventh highest carbon dioxide emitter for coal fired power plants in the Western United States. The Four Corners region already has two coal fired power plants: the Four Corners Power Plant and the San Juan Generating Station which are notoriously filthy and rank in the top ten in the Western United States for carbon dioxide emissions. The proposed Desert Rock project is a huge issue for all United States citizens concerned about global warming, sacrifice energy zones to feed insatiable energy consumption and the public health cost to our communities. A third proposed power plant in the Four Corners region would decimate the environment and economy while providing few jobs. Important Video About Desert Rock Blockade by jsefick on Thu 21 Dec 2006 06:41 AM PST The Navajo people involved in this protest have produced a short video explaining their position. Please take a few minutes to view this video. * Desert Rock RED ALERT: DINE’ GRANDMAS ARE BEING ARRESTED! Please call President Shirely! If you are in the area or know anyone in the area please get out to the site and be a Legal Observer! RED ALERT! DINE' GRANDMAS ARE BEING ARRESTED! 21 Navajo Police Paddy Wagons and Police Vehicles Just Arrived at the Blockade! [Thursday, December 21, 2006, 12 Noon Mountain State Time] We have just received reports from ground zero of the Blockade site that the Navajo Police are making arrests! Grandmothers are being arrested. The men were not at the camp and were collecting firewood. We are asking that supporters – far and wide – immediately contact the tribal headquarters of Joe Shirley, who is the Navajo Nation President, telling him that if elders and supporters have been arrested, to please release them. The President of Navajo Nation must demonstrate compassion for the grandmother elders of his tribe. Ask President Shirley to issue an order to the Navajo Police Department to hold back on making any further arrests, and to release the grandmothers and any other persons arrested. **** Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley's Office P.O. Box 9000 Window Rock, Arizona, 86515 Phone: (928) 871- 6352 also George Hardeen, Navajo Nation Communications Director Office of the President Office #: 928-871-7000 Cell #: 928-380-7688 e-mail: Shiprock Police Department phone: (505) 368-1350, fax: (505) 368-1293 Yesterday morning (Wednesday), it was reported that the Navajo Tribal Court issued a temporary restraining order. As a result, it is unclear whether or not the Doodá Desert Rock Committee members were served the actual restraining order until now. The Navajo Nation Tribal Court took this action on behalf of the Diné Power Authority and Sithe Global who sought immediate injunctive relief. DPA and Sithe Global cited concerns of [so-called] unlawful entry of Burnham Navajo citizens and their interference with the process of the proposed Desert Rock power plant. It was reported that Alice Gilmore, a Navajo tribal member, and grazing permit holder for the site, also received a restraining order against her despite her continual outcry against the project. Gilmore has never relinquished her permit and has no plans to stop opposing the project. Other resisters are supporting her stance, and despite being served, there is no future of resisters backing down. "Restraining orders are not stopping us" states Lucy Willie, Vice President of the Doodá Desert Rock Committee, "we're here to stay." FOR MORE INFO CHEQUE OUT THE BLOG: Dooda Desert Rock Committee Contacts: Dailan Jake Long Mobile (Cell): 505-801-0713 Elouise Brown, 505-947-6159 Lucy Willie, 505-215-2644 Dine' CARE contact: Lori Goodman, Dine CARE, 970-759-1908 Other Support Contacts: Enei Begaye, Black Mesa Water Coalition, (928) 213-9760 Jihan R. Gearon, Indigenous Environmental Network, (218) 760-1370 Tom Goldtooth, Indgenous Environmental Network, (218) 760-0442

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