Last updated 12:35PM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Desert Rock Opponents/Builders Meet
(2008-05-01)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Opponents of a planned 3-point-4 billion dollar coal burning power plant in Northwest New Mexico have taken their case to the board room of the company planning to build the facility.
Representatives of Dine Care met with two top officers of Sithe Global Energy Wednesday and Thursday.
KSUT's Victor Locke Reports:

LONG: THEY HAD NO IDEA AS TO THE DEPTH OF THE OPPOSITION AND THE INFORMATION THAT WE HAD
Dailan Long is an organizer with Dine Care, or Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, formed several years ago to oppose placement of Desert Rock on the Navajo reservtion.
LONG; AND HOW THE 55-THOUSAND COMMENTS THAT WERE SUBMITTED ON THE DRAFT EIS DEMONSTRATED A SMALL FRACTION OF THE LARGER OPPOSITION.
Long was one of several Dine Care representatives who met Wednesday and yesterday with Sithe Global Power's CEO Bruce Wrobel and COO, Thomas DeLeo, in New York.
Dine Care has put up stiff opposition to the 15-hundred megawatt coal power plant Sithe Global proposes southwest of Farmington, New Mexico.
Long says the two executives invited them back after Wednesday's meeting to hear more about alternative energy options.
Dine Care's Earl Tulley says he emerged from the meeting with the impression Sithe wasn't ready to forge ahead 100-percent on Desert Rock.
TULLEY: I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE FULLY COMMITTED THEMSELVES BECAUSE ON A DAILY BASIS, METAL PRICES ARE GOING UP, CONCRETE PRICES ARE GOING UP AND THEY DID ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE BOILER, IF THEY WERE TO ORDER ONE RIGHT NOW, WOULD TAKE SIX YEARS. THEY DID REVEAL THAT THEIR POCKETS ARE NOT THAT DEEP AND IF ALL THE NEEDLES ARE POINTING AWAY FROM THIS PARTICULAR PROJECT AT THAT TIME, THEY WILL FOLD.
And Dine Care's Lori Goodman says the two executives hinted they might be willing to offer alternatives to a coal fired power plant.
GOODMAN: THEY SAID WE HAVE MONEY AND WE'RE HAPPY TO MAKE INVESTMENTS ON THE NAVAJO NATION. GIVE US A PLAN AND WE'LL DO IT, WE HAVE THE MONEY TO DO IT.
MAISANO: PRODUCE THE EVIDENCE.
Frank Maisano is a spokesman for Sithe Global.
He wasn't in the meetings, but says he was briefed about Dine Care's claims Desert Rock doesn't enjoy support on the reservation, claims he feels are bogus.
MAISANO: I THINK WHERE THE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION WILL ALWAYS BE IS THAT THE NAVAJO NATION IS SUPPORTING THIS PROJECT. WE ARE THERE BECAUSE THE NAVAJO NATION HAS ASKED US TO BE THERE AND HELP THEM DO A LARGE SCALE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECT.
Maisano notes Navajo President Joe Shirley was re-elected based on his support of Desert Rock.
And the Tribal Council approved the project by a 66-7 vote, understanding it will mean thousands of construction jobs, 400 permanent jobs at the plant, and 50-million dollars per year in income to the tribe.
Maisano says Sithe isn't ready to cave in on Desert Rock in the wake of this weeks meeting with Dine Care, and other factors.
MAISANO: YOU'RE GETTING A DIFFERENT STORY FROM THEM EACH WEEK AND THE CONSPIRACY THEORY JUST DOESN'T FLY ANY MORE. THIS IS A NAVAJO PROJECT, THE NAVAJO'S ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE MOVED FORWARD WITH IT, THEY'VE INVITED US TO BE A PART OF IT AND WE'RE GOING TO INSURE THIS PROJECT BECOMES A REALITY BECAUSE THE NAVAJO NATION NEEDS IT.
Dine Care invited Sithe executives to visit the reservation, hear from opponents to Desert Rock and talk about alternative energy, hopefully in the near future.
Ironically, Dine Care's meetings with Sithe came at the same time the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs was hearing testimony on Indian Energy Development.
Dine Power Authority General Manager Steve Begay, overseeing the Desert Rock Project for the Navajo's complained about delays by the EPA in granting an air permit for Desert Rock.
And he asked congress to assist in funding the carbon capture and other clean air aspects of the plant.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
© Copyright 2017, ksut