Archive for August 30th, 2011

30
Aug

Utah summit aims to start serious conversations between state, tribal officials

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Utah officials have once again invited members of 400 tribes from across the country to their state to further open conversations about how the entities can work together to help solve some of most pressing problems facing Indian Country.

The Daily Herald reports that talks between the groups on how to go about alleviate hardships on reservations will happen this week at a two-day state summit in Salt Lake City.

The summit was organized by Utah’s governor and lieutenant governor, and will be attended by federal officials as well.

    Fundamental problems – such as a lack of healthcare, excessive poverty or substance abuse – cannot be solved as long as tribes and government agencies engage in turf wars, said Paul Tsosie, the chief of staff for Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Larry Echo Hawk.

    State and regional summits are not uncommon, Tsosie said, but the Utah gathering is somewhat unique because it’s organized by Gov. Gary Herbert and other state officials.

    “Tribes and states don’t always get along, because you have jurisdictional issues,” Tsosie said. “This opens the door for state agencies to work with the tribes, instead of against them.”

This is the sixth summit held in Utah and will take place on the University of Utah’s campus.

Jenna Cederberg

30
Aug

Review of Navajo coal mine moves forward

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By Susan Montoya Bryan, the Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE — A federal review of the potential environmental effects of expanding a coal mining operation on the Navajo reservation will continue uninterrupted after a panel of federal judges dismissed an appeal by the mine operator that tried to stop the assessment.

Conservation groups hailed the decision from the three-judge panel with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The ruling prevents BHP Billiton from expanding its operation on tribal land in northwestern New Mexico while federal regulators
re-assess the effects of the Navajo Mine permit on the environment and cultural and historic resources in the area.

The mine covers thousands of acres and produces coal for the Four Corners Power Plant, one of the largest coal-fired generating stations in the U.S. The
plant, operated by Arizona Public Service Co., provides electricity for customers in New Mexico, Arizona and other parts of the Southwest.

BHP Billiton said Monday it was reviewing the court’s decision and that operations were continuing in all areas except the parcel covered by the proposed expansion.

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