Before the waste is even removed from the last disaster, another plant wants to establish itself near Shiprock. The Desert Rock Power Plant, a coal-burning plant, would be established on tribal land. This plant would be used to supply energy to places such as Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV, etc, but not to the very lands that it plans to contaminate. Power lines would scar the landscape and smoke emissions would infect the land of Navajo.
In order to get construction for the plant approved, officials from plant developer Sithe Global, Houston, and the Diné Power Authority (DPA) had declared that the plant would bring jobs and money to the Navajo Nation while having a minimal environmental impact. Over 200,000 people live in the community of Nenahnezad, where the plant is set to be built. However, the plant would only provide for 200 jobs. Even if every last job at the plant went to the Navajo people, less than one percent of the population would be employed by a factory that would contaminate thousands.
In addition, there are already two existing power plants in the area of Shiprock and Farmington, NM. Frank Maisano is from a Washington, DC-based law firm which represents Sithe Global. Maisano admits that the plant would increase emissions by about 10 percent over the amount released from the already existing plants.
Dr. Marcus Higi, family practitioner and emergency medical doctor in Cortez, said he has already seen the effects of pollution on the health of people in the region. Higi said he has personally seen more cases of asthma and respiratory problems since moving to Cortez then he ever saw while practicing on the East Coast. He said an additional power plant could potentially worsen the severity of the cases he sees. "I'm very concerned about the health impact. We already have issues with air quality and that 10 percent (emission increase) could be the straw that breaks the camel's back," he said.
Various organizations are working to rally against the Desert Rock Power Plant. Indymedia videographer Chris Francisco will be showing the first phase of his documentary, "Doo Daa Desert Rock Power Plant" on Wednesday, July 13th at IWW Hall at 7 pm. This showing is designed to bring awareness to the atrocities occurring in the Shiprock area.
The IWW Hall is located at 616 E Burnside. There will be a sliding scale of $5-$15 but no one will be turned away for lack of money. For more information, contact Dan Shea at: 503.661.1317.