Black Mesa Water Coalition


Our Work

No Coal and Environmental Justice Program

Goals: to hold Peabody Coal Company accountable for the damage done to Black Mesa’s water, environment, and community health; to permanently close the coalmines on Black Mesa; and to replace the coal-fired power plants fed by the Black Mesa mines with renewable energy.

Successes: BMWC helped our sister organization To Nizhoni Ani to force the Navajo Nation Council to pass a law preventing Peabody Coal’s access to three million gallons of water per day from the Navajo Aquifer that is used for the slurry pipeline to MGS. This essentially shut down the pipeline in 2005, and coupled with a federal mandate to upgrade emission controls, MGS and the Black Mesa mine shut down in 2006.

  • The Black Mesa Solar Project is a holistic approach to energy development that takes into consideration community participation and benefits, job training and environmental impact. The long-term vision of the project is to establish a solar manufacturing facility and a series of 20MW to 200MW solar photovoltaic installations on the abandoned mine land of Black Mesa.

Navajo Green Economy Program

Goals: to develop long-term, sustainable, locally based “green” economies that place value not only on profits, but also on the protection and preservation of lands, waters, air, culture and future generations. This program houses pilot projects that exemplify an appropriate development path that honors the sacred ecological relationships and incorporates traditional practices into economic development.

Successes: In July 2009 BMWC, in partnership with regional environmental groups, established the Navajo Green Economy Fund and Commission within the structure of the Navajo Nation tribal government. This is the first green economy legislation passed by any tribal government.

  • The Navajo Wool Market Project is aimed at building local Navajo capacity to improve the quality of wool production and to elevate access to a fair market value for Navajo wool producers.
  • The Food Security Project works with seven communities to begin working towards revitalizing, strengthening and supporting the local food systems of the Black Mesa region.
  • The Climate Justice Solutions Project has two key goals: to educate the communities of Black Mesa about climate change and engage them in creating local solutions to this global issue. These local solutions can reflect both adaptation strategies, such as restoring regional watersheds, or mitigation strategies, such as transitioning from coal to solar energy development on Black Mesa.

Leadership Development and Movement Building

Goals: BMWC’s Leadership Development Program has gone through many forms during our past ten years. It first focused on annual summer youth summits that brought together hundreds of youth to provide an introduction to environmental justice issues and organizing skills. In 2010 we recognized a need to go beyond the introductory phase of leadership development and established the Southwest Indigenous Leadership Institute (SWILI), which directs Indigenous youth on a leadership development path that values and reflects sustainability.