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Navajo Indians Are Moving Away from Coal


I read an article in the New York Times about how the Navajo Reservation Indians who have gotten a huge amount of jobs from coal mines in the past are now looking to change their ways.  There are multiple reasons for the shift in their view on coal.  The Navajos, as a people, pride themselves upon being healers and they are now realizing the detrimental impact that coal mining has had on their land and want to change.  They have also realized that coal mining has a direct impact on the health of the miners.  On a larger scale, EPA guidelines have forced some owners to close their coal plants rather than pay vast amounts to clean up the outputs of their mines and states such as California which utilize Navajo coal are also moving away from the resource.

The desert of the Navajo reservation makes solar power seem like a viable renewable resource that the Navajo could explore in creating jobs that are lost because of the cut back on coal mining.  The Navajo Reservation however, is a sovereign state and therefore is not eligible for national funding for renewable projects.  They are looking into solar power in small scale installations as of now and also looking for alternative revenue streams such as casinos.

I applaud the Navajos for deciding as a nation that they want to move away from coal and start using more renewable energy resources.  I think most nations are realizing the need to change but on large scales it is going to be a very difficult transition.  Coal creates a vast majority of our electricity and until we make a new resource more efficient, we are stuck with what we have been basing all of our systems on for the past hundred years.

Here’s a link to the full article:

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