Tribes Struggle to Adjust After the Largest Coal Mine in the West Closes
Members of the Navajo and Hopi tribes are struggling to adjust to a new way of life following the closure of the coal-powered Navajo Generating Station late last year, as leaders look for new sources of revenue and energy.
Both the AP and the Arizona Republic reported last month that Navajo and Hopi tribe members, who had access to coal from the mine to heat their homes, are struggling in their first winter without the mine. Some of the 15,000 families without electricity are traveling for hours to cut wood from forests miles away or rely on local wood delivery service, while others have resorted to burning clothes or furniture to keep warm.
The tribes are also looking to renewables: Earther reports that the Navajo Nation is working with the city of Los Angeles, a partial owner of the former plant, to create a renewable energy hub on the plant's site to help power the city and bring electricity to more tribe members.
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The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America's infrastructure a C- grade in its quadrennial assessment issued March 3. ASCE gave the nation's flood control infrastructure – dams and levees – a D grade. This is a highly concerning assessment, given that climate change is increasingly stressing dams and levees as increased evaporation from the oceans drives heavier precipitation events.
Figure 1. Debris fills the Feather River from the damaged spillway of California's Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest dam, after its near-collapse in February 2017. The Oroville incident forced the evacuation of nearly 190,000 people and cost $1.1 billion in repairs. California Department of Water Resources
Figure 2. The L-550 levee on the Missouri River overtopping during the spring 2011 floods. USACE