KYKOTSMOVI - Black Mesa Trust Executive Director Vernon Masayesva has staked out the Trust's position on the distribution of the sulfur dioxide (SO2) credits that will accrue to Southern California Edison (SCE) as a result of the shutdown of Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nev. at the end of 2005.
Masayesva proposes that the value of SCE's 56 percent share of the credits be divided four ways, with shares going to the Hopi, the Navajo, the Colorado Plateau Clean Energy Initiative, and a legal defense fund. The share for Hopi would go to the proposed Charitable Trust Fund, a permanent community trust fund for Hopi and Navajo communities on Black Mesa; Elder Care, a proposal to build a rest home on Hopi; and Black Mesa Trust to support its efforts to safeguard the lands and waters of Black Mesa while carrying messages of water to the world.
SCE's share of the SO2 credits is estimated at between $40 million and $50 million.
The principle that the value of SCE's SO2 credits-available to the owners of the closed generating station-should go to help the people of Black Mesa is based on several historical facts: the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation were never properly compensated for the tons of coal and billion of gallons of pristine drinking water that was taken from Black Mesa; closure of the plant has severely impacted the tribes' ability to provide services to their people because of the revenues they have lost; and damage to farmlands and sacred springs which were caused by dewatering of the N-aquifer.
Masayesva says, "Now an accounting must be made, years of injustice must be addressed. An accounting must be made for the squandering of trust and goodwill, for the injury and the rape of our lands, for making Black Mesa a 'national sacrifice area' to benefit large corporations and to subsidize the electricity bills of California ratepayers. We seek not charity, but justice."
The Black Mesa Trust proposal has the endorsement of Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa. The proposal will be presented to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) by Californians for Renewable Energy. CPUC will soon hold hearings on the disposition of SCE's SO2 credits.
Masayesva hopes to gather at least 10,000 signatures on a petition to take to the CPUC. To sign the petition, go to www.ipetitions.com/petition/blackmesa/signatures.html.
He also seeks to request that the Commission hold hearings on the Hopi and Navajo reservations to allow people who cannot travel to California an opportunity to be heard.
The Mohave Generating Station was shut down on Dec. 31, 2005 when owners did not meet the terms of a 1999 consent decree that required the installation of pollution control equipment. The suit that led to the decree was filed by Grand Canyon Trust and other groups because the pollution emitted by the power plant violated the Clean Air Act by reducing visibility at Grand Canyon National Park.