Athena's Web
Week of September 10th - 16th,  1999

Peabody Western

Columns Archive


   Next year, transiting Neptune will form a hard aspect to the US Jupiter in Cancer. The history of this alignment has taken us back to the Indian Removal movement, which was at its height in 1836-1837, and the recession which followed. The country's economy was thriving, largely as a result of the new lands opening up in the west and south, but this period of activity ballooned and burst, causing considerable suffering among the middle and lower classes of society.

   Through the last few issues of the Web, we focused on one current Native American issue, this one slated for enactment on February 1, 2000, with the forced relocation of a number of Dinéh from the reservation. This will enable the Peabody Western Coal Company to strip mine the area of one of the largest coal deposits in the country. Since there are always two sides to the story, this week we will examine what Peabody Western has to say about the benefits of their program. This information was obtained from Beth Sutton, the Manager of Corporate Affairs of the Peabody Group in AZ:

   "The Black Mesa mining operation is among the largest private-sector industrial facilities built on reservation lands. Coal mining creates jobs that enable American Indians to live on their homeland and support their extended families, and royalties and taxes from the operations generate significant tribal revenue."

   "Since mining began, the Black Mesa complex has injected more than $1.2 billion into the Navajos and Hopi tribal economies through employee salaries, lease payments, mining royalties and tribal taxes. This includes more than $450 million in royalties, taxes and charitable contributions provided to the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe to date, or 20 percent and 80 percent of the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe annual operating budgets, respectively. The tribes use the revenue to develop basic services such as electricity, water, roads, and telephones. Funds also are used to improve the availability of medical services and enhance the education system."

   "Peabody Western is among the nation's largest private employers of American Indians, and mining activities are carried out by about 700 American Indians representing about 92 percent of the workforce. Employee wages exceeded $703 million during the 27-year period and average three times higher than the typical non-miner's wage. On average, employees earn $55,000 in annual wages and benefits."

   "Kayenta Unified School District receives about 80 percent of its annual budget or more than $2.5 million annually in state taxes generated from the mining complex. The district is seated as one of the nation's most technologically advanced learning environments and serves more than 2,700 students covering a 2,100-square-mile area. The company also annually contributes more than $320,000 in scholarships for Navajo and Hopi students attending schools throughout northeastern Arizona."

   Residents also receive free coal and water from company wells. In addition, other facilities, such as a 24-hour medical clinic, ambulances and a fire truck are also supplied. Next week, we'll take a look at the environmental impact on the area.


More of The Peabody Home Page:

The Peabody Home Page

can be viewed at

The Peabody Home Page

   "Today you will use about 20 lbs. of coal in the form of inexpensive and increasingly clean coal-based electricity. Surprised? You're in good company. Most people don't realize that coal is a vital source of our nation's energy. In fact, in the half-century since your grandmother burned coal in her basement furnace, coal use has more than doubled. It's essential, abundant, reliable and inexpensive. Safe to mine, safe to burn and environmentally friendly, coal is critical for stoking America's economic engine. Coal is a powerful resource, there are not enough replacement energy sources to keep our economy going. That's how important coal is to our continued prosperity today and in the future."

   "Our reclamation results are settng the standard for the industry and illustrated sound business principles: When the mining is complete, we will leave the land equal or better than we found it."


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