The Hopi site was one of only two in Arizona deemed suitable for carbon storage testing, according to an Associated Press story.
“They felt very uncomfortable with what the project entailed, liability, possible question marks as to what the impact would be to the tribe,” says Hopi Chairman Le Roy Shingoitewa:
The tribe had secured a $5.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the project and was working with a group of researchers with the West Coast Carbon Regional Sequestration Partnership, or WESTCARB, Roberson said. The partnership, led by the California Energy Commission, is one of seven across the country created to look at opportunities to keep carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere because it traps heat.
WESTCARB eyed the Colorado Plateau as a potential carbon storage site because of its rock formations that have few faults and the area’s coal-fired power plants, said Rich Myhre, outreach coordinator for WESTCARB.
The power plants are among the largest producers of carbon dioxide emissions, and future climate legislation could force the regulation of such discharges. Four coal-burning plants lie in northeast Arizona — one that is fed by coal mined from the Hopi and Navajo reservations — and generate about 40 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
“I made a choice not to subject our people to an experimental project on our own lands,” says Hopi lawmaker Leroy Sumatzkuku. “We have to take a stand in protecting our valuable natural resources.”