Groups file complaint over latest proposal for stored hydro projects on Navajo land

Published: Wednesday, January 4, 2023 - 4:48pm

The Center for Biological Diversity and two Navajo activist groups have filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over proposals for three stored hydro projects on the Navajo Nation.

The projects would cover nearly 40,000 acres on Black Mesa, located southeast of Kayenta.

The groups say they would damage an area that has already felt the impacts of decades of coal mining.

But pumped hydro storage uses water to create electricity, and the region doesn’t have much water.

Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity says the region’s groundwater supplies were stretched by the mines, and the Colorado River is over allocated.

“These proposals are predicated on a massive amount of water that doesn’t exist, that’s not available, either in the rivers or in the aquifers,” McKinnon said.

A Phoenix firm has proposed similar projects on Navajo land but has withdrawn two of them.

Environment Water