|FRUITLAND, N.M. — Chapters across the Navajo Nation received over 480 tons of Navajo Mine coal on Friday, Jan. 31.|
It was as part of the Navajo Coal Chapter Project coordinated by Speaker Seth Damon and the 24th Navajo Nation Council.
“At our most recent agency council meetings, Navajo chapter leadership described the need for better access to heat resources after the closure of the Kayenta Coal Mine. We immediately acted to bring together available resources to deliver over 480 tons of coal to our elders and families in our neediest communities,” said Speaker Damon.
Over the past three weeks, Office of the Speaker staff reached out to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company’s Community Heating Resource Program to begin working to expand the number of chapters the program serves.
“We are pleased with the amount of coal we have given out to the Navajo people. We realize that coal is still a viable heating resource on the Navajo Nation. Whereas running water and electricity are amenities that are undeveloped in many communities, coal remains an important heating source for many families on the Navajo Nation. We want to do our part to help the elderly, children and families stay warm this winter,” said NTEC CEO Clark Moseley.
“In the past, we’ve had 28 chapters that have been part of the program,” said Native American Coal Corporation Community Relations Manager Andy Hawkins. “This year, we’re now up to 85 chapters who are here picking up coal out of the 110.”
The Office of the Speaker staff coordinated with each member of the 24th Navajo Nation Council to identify a chapter within their respective districts that do not currently receive coal through the NTEC resource program. The selected chapter was identified as a high priority through a combination of remoteness, elderly population, and community membership factors.
In total, 24 chapters received coal deliveries on Friday. Chapters will distribute coal to community members with special emphasis on serving Navajo elders. Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown, who was onsite at the Navajo Mine Area 3 for the project kickoff, said, “The need in our communities is there. We know how much of a hardship it is when Navajo elders can’t go to Kayenta Mine anymore. With this pilot project, we’re trying to make it easier for them to stay warm through the rest of the winter.”
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