Editor’s note: President Obama unveiled a national plan to tackle climate change earlier this week, using his executive powers to bypass Congress, which had been gridlocked on measures to address the problem. The plan, for the first time, calls for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set limits on carbon emissions from new and old power plants, which make up about a third of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Coal-powered plants are the heaviest emitters of carbon pollution, and on tribal lands in Arizona, Native Americans have been pushing to transition their tribal economies away from coal and toward renewable energy. NAM’s Ngoc Nguyen spoke with Wahleah Johns, who co-directs the grassroots Black Mesa Water Coalition, on what lessons their work has for a national shift toward cleaner and renewable energy.
New America Media: How does Obama’s plan affect the work you are doing to transition away from coal power on tribal lands?