Raising revenue should be a priority to the Hopi Council

To the editor:

I am upset and disappointed with the way the Hopi Tribal Council is mishandling the Peabody lease amendment, Little Colorado River Settlement and the Snowbowl issue.

The council, without consulting with the people, who are the owners of the coal, has once again agreed to continue giving Peabody and Navajo Generating Station owners hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, while we get pennies.

Under the amendment the council approved on Dec. 13, 2011, the Salt River Project not Peabody will be paying us a royalty fee. Why was SRP brought into the Peabody lease?

In return for paying us a small fee, the Hopi Tribe will not tax NGS owners and maybe even Peabody. The tribe will also waive other fees and impositions. No explanation has been given to the people on the types of taxes, fees, and impositions we will be giving up.

I recommended that the council revisited its bad decision and call for re-negotiations, this time leaving out NGS and involving the Hopi Village and people.

The Little Colorado River Proposed Settlement negotiation is still ongoing for over 25 years at a cost of hundreds of millions of Hopi and taxpayers money.

Last year the Water Energy Team recommended to council put it on hold, until they have better understanding of terms and conditions, and after consultation with villages, this has not been done. No one from council has come to Hotevilla.

From my understanding of the proposed settlement we will waive our rights to the Little Colorado River water. We will not get a drop of water. In return we are promised 4,500 acre feet each year from Lake Powell. The pipeline will cost close to one-half million just to construct. I do not know how much money will be needed to operate the pipeline, pay for electricity, construct a water treatment plant, and run waterlines to homes, schools, hospitals, etc.

Most important, who is going to pay the bills? Getting congress to pay the bill will not happen because the U.S. government is broke. Bringing water to Hopi is not a priority with congress. At some time future generations will be paying the bill.

I recommend the Hopi Tribe drop out of negotiations, I recommend council to stop messing around and stop wasting money on an expensive team of lawyers. For such a tiny tribe, we have more lawyers than the Navajo Nation.

A new and creative way of stopping artificial snowmaking is needed. Lawsuits will not work, only the lawyers win.

I suggest the Hopi and other tribes get together and talk about ways to raise money to buy out owners' interest in the Snowbowl. Next, turn it into a healing center, a center devoted to imagining the prophesized Fifth World of Hopi.

Right now the Hopi Tribe has money to buy out the owner. We are an energy rich tribe that is not taking advantage of our wealth, because we do not know how to do it. We are not business minded people.

One source of money is possessory and severance tax, which Hopi should be charging Peabody. As a sovereign nation the Hopi Tribe has the authority to tax.

A tax program could bring in over 100 million annually. Add to this the hundreds of millions of dollars we should be getting from Arizona Public Service electric transmission line, which runs through our land. From 1967 to 1942 the Hopi Tribe only received $28,000.

Council needs to reset priorities. Instead of wasting millions of dollars on lawyers to fight issues, the priority should be raising revenues, creating jobs and taking better care of our youth and elderly.

Jerry Honawa

Hotevilla, Ariz.


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