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News ::
They are coming again to take our land - Word From Big. Mtn.
17 Jul 2001
"They are coming again to take our land and our water. Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company, is planning to tear another 180 million tons of coal from the Hopi heartland."

If you've been following the situation at Big Mountain over the years you're probably already aware of the inter-tribal dynamics involved in the issue of stripmining in Hopi and Navajo territory (not to mention the nefarious deeds of the corporados at Peabody Energy and the USG).
Below is a letter from a Hopi traditionalist (a voice not often heard in this ongoing saga) that asks for your help. PLEASE READ, ACT & PASS ON.

The letter appeared in a link at:

Navajo-Hopi Observer- Letters to the Editor


They are coming again to take our land and our water. Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company, is planning to tear another 180 million tons of coal from the Hopi heartland. This ancient carbon, part of an essential internal organ of Mother Earth, will be forcibly removed to provide power to run air conditioners and VCRs for energy-hungry Californians. Scientists tell us that every year, 35,000 Americans will die from breathing the particulates emitted by coal-burning power plants and that our climate will change in ways not beneficial to life as we know it.

For forty years, huge draglines have decimated our living mesas and sacred shrines. Peabody’s mining operations have turned our land upside down, lacing it with poisons and turning it into a lifeless, silent place, empty of spirit and original, primal beauty. Peabody’s deep wells have noticeably lessened our springs and streams, and lowered groundwater levels. Now our fields stand dry and desperate in the hot wind. Our elders warned us that, “Should this happen, our lands will shake like the Hopi rattle, land will sink and dry up. Rains will be barred by unseen forces. Plants will not grow, animals will die—and not only Hopis, but all will disintegrate to nothing.” And now they want to take more. More coal. More water. In Washington, federal officials and their energy industry “advisors” are meeting in secret to decide the fate of Hopi land, and consequently, Hopi culture. They probably never think about the Hopi People. No. In their mind, what happens to the Hopi People is but a footnote to a tragic story rapidly unfolding. The loss of a whole community of men, women and children, a thousand-year old culture, is seen as mere “collateral damage,” resulting from the need to meet California’s energy crisis and pay back Mr. Irl F. Engelhardt, the Chairman and CEO of Peabody who contributed $250,000 to the Republican campaign and who was one of the key energy advisors to Bush-Cheney transition team.

We are greatly concerned. Peabody Energy is planning to open new mines on the Hopi Reservation for which it will need proper permits. Only one factor remains in place to prevent Peabody from imposing additional sacrificial damage upon Hopi land. Peabody needs the federal Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) to approve its mining permit, which would provide Peabody with legal approval to continue and expand its mining operations.
This presents a second chance for Hopi Tribal Council and the grassroots people to work together to correct numerous problems raised by the Hopi Tribe in 1989 when it rejected OSMRE’s Environmental Impacts Study (EIS) and Comprehensive Hydrologic Impact Assessment (CHIA).

Black Mesa Trust believes that mine expansion will create additional major impacts on the environment, groundwater, springs, washes, and to our culture, and that a full-blown EIS and CHIA must be done with third party oversight. We no longer trust OSMRE to conduct a credible study.

If your readers care about clear skies, clean water, healthy food and desire to live in balance with nature, I ask them to please speak up now. Ask OSMRE to conduct all necessary hydrological studies, environmental protection consideration and address the numerous issues raised by the Hopi Tribe. Express your concerns by contacting some or all of the responsible key government, tribal and private agencies: your congressional representatives, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, the Office of Surface Mining, the White House, Peabody Energy, the Hopi Tribal Council, US Environmental Protection Agency and the Black Mesa Trust.

Although the stage may be set, steps can still be taken to prevent further destruction of Hopi land, water resources, and culture. This letter is a call for help and a request for action.

Vernon Masayesva
Director, Black Mesa Trust
Kykotsmovi, AZ



Contact OSMRE at these addresses:

Glenda Owens, Deputy Director U. S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement
GOWENS (at) OSMRE.GOV, 202-208-4006

OSMRE Public Affairs:
mgauldin (at), jchildress (at), cmeyers (at), cjohnson (at) OSMRE.GOV,

Willis Gainer, Director
Albuquerque Field Office
505 Marquette, Ave., NW, Suite 1200
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 248-5070
E-Mail: wgainer (at)

AND, send your support to:

Black Mesa Indigenous Support
P.O. Box 23501, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002
Message Voice Mail: 520.773.8086
Email: blackmesais (at)

AND, Whack the Peabody corporados:

Irl F. Engelhardt
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Peabody Energy
Iengelhardt@peabodyenergy (not sure if valid)

Public Relations
Peabody Energy
701 Market St.
St. Louis, MO 63101

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