Black Mesa Trust praises plan to dismantle Mohave Generating Station

Black Mesa Trust is encouraged by the decision of Southern California Edison and the other owners of the Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nev., to decommission the station and remove the facility from the site.

“Not only was the Mohave Generation Station the dirtiest coal-based power plant in the country, it stood for more than 40 years as a symbol of the wanton destruction of Hopi and Navajo children's heritage and birthright,” said Black Mesa Trust Executive Director Vernon Masayesva. “We hope that dismantling the power station will mean that the coal slurry pipeline between Black Mesa and the plant – and Peabody's wells on the N-aquifer – will also be dismantled. Only then can we ensure that the N-aquifer, the sole source of potable groundwater on the Hopi Reservation, can be used for the survival of Native peoples on Black Mesa and for the religious and cultural observances that the Creator intended."

According to a Southern California Edison news release, the plant’s non-generating equipment and facilities will be dismantled beginning in 2009. In 2010, the generating equipment will be removed and the power plants operating permits ended.

“Now that the Mohave plant can never be restarted,” Masayesva added, “the Black Mesa Project EIS, which we are appealing, is no longer necessary and a waste of taxpayers money.” The EIS was developed in response to Peabody Coal’s application to combine its two mines on Black Mesa, the Kayenta Mine, which supplies coal to Navajo Generating Station, and the Black Mesa Mine, which supplied coal to Mohave, into one operation.

The 1580-MW coal-fired power plant was shut down at the end of 2005 because owners failed to install the pollution-control equipment required by a 1999 consent decree negotiated between the plant’s owners and the Grand Canyon Trust and other environmental groups and because the owners were unable to negotiate a new water supply for the operation.

The eventual disposition of the site itself is still in discussion. Mohave owners said they were considering selling the site or building a renewable generating facility there as among the possible options.

“Black Mesa Trust supports the conversion of the coal-fired generating station to a solar powered facility. In April 2011, the 35-year coal supply contract between Peabody and owners of Mohave will expire. The Navajo and Hopi people should take advantage of this opportunity to take control of their natural resources. We should not be content with receiving a royalty check. We need to be equal partners in the generating and mining ativities if that is the way we want to go with the mining.”

Kykotsmovi, Arizona