Dear Sen. Bingaman

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I see that Sen. Harry Reid announced the committee chairs for the 111th Congress, and you are to be the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. I also see that it has jurisdiction over the Nation’s energy policy.

The Dooda (NO) Desert Rock Committee is an ad hoc grassroots organization of Navajos (supported by many non-Navajos) that opposes the proposed Desert Rock power plant in the Four Corners area. We do not share the propaganda put out by the Navajo Nation central government that the power plant will bring jobs and economic prosperity. We note that there are no arrangements for revenue sharing with the local chapters – any revenue would go to the central government. The only place that workers for the plant can find housing is off-reservation, so the power plant is not really about helping we who live on the land.

The issue is how to strike a proper balance between meaningful economic development for the Navajo Nation and the health of the people and the environment of the Four Corners – Navajo or not; reservation resident or not. We agree with the leadership of the State of New Mexico that all the policy considerations point to denying permission for the Desert Rock plant to be built.

You have proved that you are a friend of the Navajo Nation over the years. We urge you to establish a national policy against coal-fired power plants until such time as there is a technology to operate them without emitting harmful pollutants, such as carbon dioxide. If you are faced with the argument that such a policy infringes on Navajo Nation sovereignty you can say back that there is no grassroots Navajo support for the power plant. I do not have the numbers, but I think I can say with some confidence that while some politicians support the plant, the People do not.

We do not have political power. However we can afford stamps and we appeal to you to listen to our point of view. We congratulate you for your appointment because we have confidence that you will look after the best interests of the residents of the Four Corners area.

– Elouise Brown
President, Dooda Desert Rock
Navajo Nation
Newcomb
New Mexico