I have finally ended my nearly year-long quest to find out how California’s changing coal economy is affecting the lives of coal dependent communities around the Southwest. I traveled to the Navajo Nation to write about the tribe’s recent purchase of a coal mine, something that never would have happened had California kept buying coal power from the plant the mine supplied. Owning the Navajo Mine (as it is confusingly named) is a huge deal, as I’ve written here previously. The tribe has never owned a piece of the energy infrastructure on the reservation, or gotten a fair cut of the resources beneath its ground. Now it has that opportunity, but many tribal members oppose the deal because it perpetuates their dependence on coal and its damaging ways. Read it here and decide for yourself what you think!
For the past few months I’ve been researching a big story on the future of the coal industry on the Navajo Nation. That story isn’t coming out until March-ish, but I wanted to write about something important that happened recently–the Navajo Nation bought a coal mine. There’s a pretty broad range of opinions on this decision, not surprisingly. Some people say it’s a huge step forward for tribal energy independence. Other say it’s a bad business move. Read more here.