Click the link to read the article on the Indian Country Today website (Mark Trahant). Here’s an excerpt:
These are thorny questions. What do tribes do now with their coal? What about the country? And what’s the best transition plan that will preserve at least some of the best paying jobs in rural communities?
Globally, the stage is set. The United Nations has been clear about the need to “dismantle coal infrastructure” and phase out that fossil fuel over the next eight years.
“The only true path to energy security, stable power prices, prosperity and a liveable planet lies in abandoning polluting fossil fuels, especially coal, and accelerating the renewables-based energy transition,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in Australia this month.
In other words there is no possible route to reach greenhouse gas emission targets unless coal is no longer mined and processed. And not every government, or company, is on board with that notion.
There are some 25 tribes that have some form of coal reserves, power plants or mines. On top of that the Associated Press reported in 2012 that 10 percent of all U.S. power plants operate within 20 miles of tribal nations, impacting nearly 50 tribal nations.
The shift away from coal is a big story.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, at a conference on coal transition, called the challenge “unprecendented” and it’s coming faster than anyone expected. “We would like to continue our role as an Arizona energy generator,” he said, “but through the renewable energy projects that will make our shared clean energy future possible.”