*Stop Black Mesa Project! DEIS Comment Period Deadline July 7, 2008*

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Subject: *Stop Black Mesa Project! DEIS Comment Period Deadline July 7, 2008*
From:    “Black Mesa Support” <blackmesais@riseup.net>
Date:    Mon, June 23, 2008 10:53 am
To:      “support, Black Mesa Indigenous Support” <blackmesais@riseup.net>
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The following action alert is from The Black Mesa Water Coalition:
Dear friends and relatives,
Please take a few minutes to read and hopefully respond! We have
being trying our best to handle the railroading tactics of Peabody,
the Office of Surface Mining and its desire mine more coal!
Best, BMWC
www.blackmesawatercoalition.org

Black Mesa Project permitting process Re-opened! Deadline for
commenting: July 7, 2008
Coal is the liver of Mother Earth, keep it in the ground, keep her
alive and healthy!


In 30 years the Black Mesa mine has contributed an estimated 325
million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere! If Peabody’s Black Mesa
Project is permitted, coal from the Black Mesa mine could potentially
contribute an additional 290 million tons of CO2 to the global
warming crisis!
Save Nihima Dzil Yijiin! Protect Our Mother Black Mesa!
The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) has recently re-activated the
Black Mesa Project (BMP) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
in May 2008. http://www.wrcc.osmre.gov/WR/BlackMesaEIS.htm
After being shelved for one year, the preferred alternative for the
draft EIS has changed to Alternative B.

In 2006, OSM released the DEIS for the BMP supporting preferred
Alternative A. Which meant the expansion of the mine, the building of
a coal-washing facility, the use Coconino Aquifer and Navajo Aquifer,
and re-building of the 273-mile coal slurry-line to transport coal to
the Mohave Generating Station. Since January of 2006 MGS, Black Mesa
mine and slurry-line has closed due to the unavailability of coal
transportation means, fresh ground water (Navajo and Coconino Aquifer).
Today Alternative B has re-opened the DEIS. Alternative B is to
supply Black Mesa coal to the Navajo Generating Station located near
Page, AZ.

Alternative B will combine the Black Mesa mine and Kayenta mine into
one life- of-mine permit (LOM), thus giving Peabody Coal Company the
right to mine in their coal lease boundary until there is no coal
left. Currently the Kayenta mine is the only operating mine on Black
Mesa and has been operating on a LOM permit for over 30 years.
Alternative B would expand and re-open the Black Mesa Mine joining
the Kayenta mine.

It is still unclear what exactly Alternative B is, community people
of Black Mesa are outrage for the lack of notification and sudden
change in the DEIS. Residents of Black Mesa have been opposing the
BMP draft EIS since its release. In particular, the majority of
public comments submitted to OSM last year are comments regarding
Alternative A.

OSM has given 45 days for the general public to respond on
Alternative B, this is an insufficient time for elders, youth and
Navajo and Hopi speaking people to make comments. The deadline for
public comments is July 7, 2008.

Take Action Now!

Please help by doing one or all of the below:
1. Simply download the below letter, sign it and mail it in! (OSM
contact information below)

2. Download the sample letter, change or add MORE to it that
addresses your concerns for climate change, global warming, air
quality, alternative energies, or other future environmental quality
issues.  Don’t forget to sign it and mail it in!

3. Type out or hand write your own letter using the suggested talking
points, sign and mail it in!

4. Host a letter writing party! Invite friends and family over to
write their own letters using the suggested talking points and sample
letter.  Provide paper, pens, envelopes and stamps.

We encourage you to hand write your own letter, we have talking
points and a sample letter below that can be helpful.

Please write or email to both the Navajo OSM and the regional OSM
(contact info below) request a suspension and complete halt of this
EIS process! Or, in the alternative, an indefinite extension of the
commenting period on the Black Mesa Project Draft Environmental
Impact Statement!

A few suggested talking points and concerns with the DEIS:

No official U.S. and Navajo government entity has outreached or shared
information to local Black Mesa residents adequately regarding Alternative
B.

The BMP draft EIS is outdated and has irrelevant information. If they want
to pursue Alternative B, they need to restart a new EIS process from the
beginning.

Many of the public comments submitted last year for the BMP draft EIS
were intended for Alternative A, which is an inactive issue now,

The DEIS mentions lung problems and only proposes mitigation for mine
workers, not residents. DEIS must look at mitigation measures for
local residents to avoid health problems associated with black lung,
silicacosis and other lung ailments like asthma,

The DEIS does not consider how OSM will comply with RFRA (Religious
Freedom and Restoration Act) and prevent substantial burden on the
tribes’ ability to practice their religion,

The DEIS does not compare the economics of additional coal mining vs.
a Just Transition to renewable energy development on the mine site
and reclaimed areas to prevent long-term cumulative impacts by
additional coal mining,

The DEIS does not address the pumping of the Navajo Aquifer for the
last thirty years.  These amounts exceed the aquifer’s ability to
replace water annually, and have adversely impacted the natural
springs and seeps all over Black Mesa. Springs and seeps no longer
can produce the water needed for Navajo families to survive daily.
Instead families must abandon local water resources and use community
wells 20-30 miles over unimproved roads. The mining operation’s
irresponsible use of groundwater has jeopardized the people’s
survival into the future. Peabody has not included in its application
the impact on the people of Black Mesa and how long they can expect
to survive with continued use and contamination of the only source of
drinking water the people have. What measures do they have in place
to insure the people that an alternate source of water in quality and
quantity will be delivered if there is irreversible damage to the N-
Aquifer?

DEIS is vague and does not give the reader a clear understanding of
the social, cultural and economic impacts of the potential relocation
of 17 families!

The DEIS does not address the current U.S. federal laws that make CO2
a pollutant and uncalculated CO2 emissions that will contribute to
global warming until 2026, if more mining by Peabody coal company
continues.
*************************** SAMPLE LETTER
**********************************
[Date]

Dennis Winterringer
Western Regional Office
Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
P.O. Box 46667
Denver, CO 80201-6667
Phone: 303-844-1400, ext 1440
email: bmkeis@osmre.gov

Re: Request for Suspension or, in the alternative, Indefinite
Extension to Submit Written Comments on Black Mesa Project Draft
Environmental Impact Statement

Dear Mr. Winterringer:

We are writing to request that OSM grant an immediate suspension or,
in the alternative, an indefinite extension of time in which to
comment on the “reopened” Black Mesa Project Draft Environmental
Impact Statement and which was re-released for comment on May 23, 2008.
In particular, we respectfully request that the Office of Surface
Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (“OSM”), at a minimum,
indefinitely suspend any proposed comment period until such time as
Peabody has properly amended its permit revision application for the
Black Mesa Mine Complex to remove proposed plans and activities that
supported supplying coal to Mojave Generating Station. Additionally,
our request for suspension or, in the alternative, indefinite
extension is made in consideration of the cultural importance of the
area; the complexity and scope of the issues; and, the need to
reconsider the applicability of previous comments with respect to
newly proposed project and preferred alternative, modified
Alternative B.

The proposed Black Mesa Project will have many harmful impacts to the
ecological and cultural life ways on Black Mesa, particularly to the
environment, and Navajo and Hopi communities.[1] The spiritual
significance of the area is manifest, providing religious shrines and/
or offering places. To the Dineh (Navajos), the whole Black Mesa
region including Navajo Mountain represents one of the supreme deity
Female Mountain and the belief is that she possess both human and
divine forms and qualities as she lie across from her male companion,
the Chuska Mountains . Both of these ranges are considered alive, and
that which dictate systems for all life forms across these particular
landscapes. According to Dineh spiritual understanding, Black Mesa as
a female entity is the provider of medicinal herbs, tobacco blends
and regional floras and faunas.

The Dineh’s spiritual view further describes that Navajo Mountain in
Utah is the head, Marsh Pass below the north rim of Black Mesa is a
turquoise necklace, in her left hand she holds a sacred staff (the El
Captain spire), in her right hand she holds a medicine basket
(Cowsprings Formation around the confluences of Moenkopi-Cowsprings
washes and Coal Mine canyon), and her bare feet are the jutting mesas
of Hopi country. The Dineh, children of Female Mountain, were given
the responsibility of ritual prayer offerings to insure the
continuation of the hydrologic cycles that replenishes (her) bodily
fluids (Navajo Aquifer) and that also regenerates the natural springs
throughout.

Coal is the liver embodiment of this female mountain and its
functions will be jeopardized if it is furthered extracted. Despite
scientifically supported methods of reclamation and hydrological
analyses, the terrain and its ecosystem will lack soil nutrients that
the liver provides which are necessary to rebuild natural landscapes
and to re-energize plant ecology. Thus, the modified Alternative B as
it concludes in the Draft EIS inadequately interprets the destructive
processes of aquifer and coal extraction of Dineh and Hopi lands that
encompasses mostly pristine topography that contain numerous cultural
and religious sites. The haste in soliciting comments for an entirely
new project precludes an adequate representation of these harms.

Further, the Draft EIS addresses a wide range of complex issues on
such matters as hydrological impacts of water withdrawals and mining
operations. The public should be provided full opportunity to review
the Draft EIS with full disclosure of the proposed project, as
outlined in the permit revision. In fact, the public may be entitled
to another scoping comment period and draft environmental impact
statement. In short, it is premature to request comments by July 7,
2008 given the scope and complexity of the document, unavailability
of amendments to Peabody ‘s pending permit revision and dramatic
shift in project objectives, proposed project, and preferred
alternative. Lastly, numerous tribal members and interested
stakeholders that have previously submitted scoping and other
comments have received no notification of the re-release of the Draft
EIS and its associated modifications that require additional review.
For these reasons, we strongly urge you to suspend or, in the
alternative, grant an indefinite extension of time so that these
issues may be resolved and meaningful public comment provided.

Sincerely,

Name:
Mailing Address:
Phone (optional):
E-mail:

****************** END SAMPLE LETTER *******************************

*****Below is information taken from the Office of Surface Mining’s
latest newsletter******
How to Submit Comments on the Draft EIS
Comments previously submitted on the Draft EIS will be considered in
the Final EIS and do not need to be resubmitted. Comments on the
Draft EIS and alternative B may be submitted by e-mail over the
Internet or in writing. In the subject line of your e-mail or at the
top of your letter, indicate that the comments are “BMP Draft EIS
Comments.” Include your name and address in your e-mail message or
letter. To ensure consideration in the Final EIS, written comments
must be received by OSM by 4:00 p.m. (MDT) on July 7, 2008.

E-mail comments should be sent to BMKEIS@osmre.gov.

Written comments sent first-class or priority U.S. Postal
Service should be mailed to:

Dennis Winterringer, Leader
Black Mesa Project EIS
OSM Western Region
P.O. Box 46667
Denver, Colorado 80201-6667

Comments sent by U.S. Postal Service Express Mail or by courier
service should be delivered to:

Dennis Winterringer, Leader
Black Mesa Project EIS
OSM Western Region
1999 Broadway, Suite 3320
Denver, Colorado 80202-5733

Navajo Nation Office of Surface Mining
John Stucker
Mining Engineer
Postal Service
Navajo Nation Minerals
Department Office of Surface Mining
P.O. Box 1091
Window Rock, Arizona 86515

Delivery to (ie FedEX, UPS)
Navajo Nation Minerals
Department Office of Surface Mining
Mineral Department Window Rock Blvd.
Window Rock, Arizona 86515

OR

Navajo Nation Minerals
Department Office of Surface Mining
Mineral Department Tribal Hill Drive
Window Rock, Arizona 86515

Telephone: (928) 871 – 6464
FAX: (928) 871 – 6457
E-mail: jstucker@frontiernet.net

Work on the Black Mesa Project EIS Resumes
After a one-year delay, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and
Enforcement (OSM) has resumed work on the Final Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) for the Black Mesa Project.

Proposed Black Mesa Project
Southern California Edison and the other co-owners of the Mohave
Generating Station (MGS) in Laughlin, Nevada, suspended operations of
the power plant in December 2005. Since then they have been
unsuccessful in finding buyers that would reopen the power plant. The
power plant has never been a part of the proposed Black Mesa Project,
but several components of the proposed project as it existed in
November 2006, when OSM issued the Draft EIS, are dependent upon the
power plant for their existence.  These components include the Black
Mesa Mine, coal slurry preparation plant, coal-slurry pipeline, and
proposed Coconino water-supply system.

Peabody Western Coal Company, the sole supplier of coal to MGS,
notified OSM that it believes the chances are remote of the power
plant ever reopening.  Therefore, it is unlikely that the Black Mesa
Mine will resume coal production to supply the power plant, the
existing coal-slurry preparation plant will be permitted, the coal-
slurry pipeline will be rebuilt, and the new Coconino water-supply
system will be built.

While OSM will continue to analyze these project components in the
Final EIS under alternative A, OSM will be designating alternative B
as the proposed project and preferred alternative. Alternative B
includes the continued operation of Peabody’s Kayenta Mine to supply
coal to the Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona, and
incorporation of the surface facilities and coal reserves of the
Black Mesa Mine into the Kayenta Mine permit.

Status of the EIS
In November 2006, OSM released the Black Mesa Project Draft EIS for
public review. During the comment period, which ended in February
2007, OSM received approximately 18,000 comment submittals. In May
2007, OSM suspended work on the Final EIS, including analysis and
preparation of responses to these comments, when Southern California
Edison stopped funding the EIS. OSM has resumed work on the Final
EIS, which is now funded by Peabody.

OSM intends to issue the Final EIS by the end of 2008. Availability
of the Final EIS will be announced in the Federal Register and in
local media.

Comment Period on Draft EIS Reopens on May 23, 2008, OSM published a
notice in the Federal Register announcing that the comment period on the
Draft EIS has been reopened between May 23 through July 7, 2008. The Draft
EIS is the same document previously issued in November 2006. Comments are
requested on the alternative B, which is now the proposed project and
preferred alternative. Please do not resend comments previously submitted
on the Draft EIS.  OSM is considering these comments in the preparation
of the Final EIS.

The Draft EIS is available for review on OSM’s website at http://
www.wrcc.osmre.gov/WR/BlackMesaEIS.htm. Paper and computer compact
disk (CD) copies of the Draft EIS also are available for review at
the Office of Surface Mining, Western Region, 1999 Broadway, Suite
3320, Denver, Colorado 80202-5733. (For more information on how to
submit comments on the Draft EIS, see the information on the back
cover of this newsletter.)

******End of OSM Newsletter****
For more information, updates, and how to get involve please visit
our website at www.blackmesawatercoalition.org or contact our BMWC
office line:  (928) 213-5909

http://www.blackmesais.org

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