NAVAJO MINE, N.M. – Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) with North American Bisti Fuels loaded 375 tons of coal Jan. 31 to help more than a dozen Navajo communities stay warm.
The Navajo Chapter Coal Project
With the closure of Kayenta Mine in northern Arizona, the need for in home coal escalated.
As a result, the community relations teams from NTEC and Bisti Fuels created the Community Heating Resource Program (CHRP). The CHRP program provides free coal at the Navajo Mine to all Navajo chapters and their members, and the chapters themselves designate who receives the coal.
The program has been in place for three years but with the closure of Kayenta Mine, NTEC realized the program needed to be dramatically expanded. To date, more than 3,000 families from 85 Navajo chapters and four Hopi villages are staying warm this winter season because of the program that provides free coal.
On Jan. 31, Navajo Nation Speaker Seth Damon coordinated with NTEC, Bisti Fuels and Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority to dramatically increase the quantity of coal available to the chapters. Damon arranged for the provision of bulk transportation deliver coal to Navajo chapters through the Navajo Nation’s new Navajo Chapter Coal Project. A total of 23 trucks were loaded.
Damon commended NTEC for providing Navajo families with coal from Navajo Mine.
He said the project will prepare Navajo elders and others for the coming winter storms.
"The 24th Navajo Nation Council and NTEC are working together in this unique project," he said, "We also appreciate the other partners, including NECA, Bisti Fuels and North American Coal Company.”
“NTEC is pleased to supported the expanded delivery of free thermal coal to the Navajo people today, and throughout the winter season,” said NTEC CEO Clark Mosely. “We realize that coal is still a crucial heating resource on the Navajo Nation. We want to do our part to help the elderly, children and families stay warm this winter.”
Friday’s distribution was the largest single day distribution of free coal for Navajo communities, said Andy Hawkins, community relations manager for Bisti Fuels.
“We estimate that 15 tons can keep about 300 families warm for a month depending on usage and distribution,” Hawkins said.
Navajo Nation Delegate Nathaniel Brown watched tractor-trailers being loaded as one load was designated to travel to Dennehotso, Ariz., which Delegate Brown represents. He also toured Navajo Mine.
“The tour of Navajo Mine helped me get a better understanding of the economic impact Navajo Mine has to the Navajo Nation and surrounding communities,” Brown said. “Moving forward, I want to help my colleagues understand the large role natural resources have on the Navajo Nation. And again, it’s about our working Navajo families who get to be home and have a good paying jobs. I love how the mine offers free coal to Navajo people all over the Navajo Nation. The company also loads the coal so our people don’t have to pick coal for themselves.”
Steamboat Commission Government President Emerson Curley said the coal has been helpful to his community of Steamboat, Arizona.
“The coal has been real helpful especially during these winter months. A lot of people still burn coal in our community and people are really thankful for the coal,” Curley said.
Chapters that want to participate can contact Cortasha Upshaw at (505) 278-8625 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Andy Hawkins at (505) 598-2892 or at email@example.com.
Information provided by Navajo Transitional Energy Co.