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Just Transition Coalition

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

The Just Transition Coalition (JTC) was created to address the economic impact on the Navajo and Hopi tribal communities affected by the 2005 closure of the Mohave Generating Station. The coalition includes the Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth Foundation, Apollo Alliance, Black Mesa Water Coalition, To'Nizhoni Ani, Grand Canyon Trust, and the Sierra Club.[1] The coalition has proposed that annual revenues from the sale of pollution credits from the Mohave plant be reinvested in renewable energy on tribal lands, such as wind and solar plants, as well as be used to help offset the economic burden of lost coal royalties and jobs.[2]

Suing for Justice

On December 31, 2005, operations were suspended at the coal-fired Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nevada due to a Clean Air Act lawsuit and because Navajo and Hopi tribes passed resolutions ending the use of the Black Mesa aquifer to create the coal slurry supplying the station. The Navajo and Hopi communities have been hit hard economically since the closure of Mohave, with significant losses of revenue and employment. Yet in the time since the Mohave plant closed, and it stopped emitting over 40,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) per year, majority owner Southern California Edison (SCE) has accrued pollution allowances estimated at $30 million annually, which can be sold under the U.S. Acid Rain Program.[3] On January 11, 2006, the JTC filed a motion with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for a “Just Transition” in response to economic burden placed on the Hopi and Navajo people by the closure of Mohave. The coalition proposed to direct 30 percent of the pollution credit proceeds to local villages and chapters to invest in solar, wind, and ecotourism, 10 percent for job retraining, 40 percent in alternative energy development and production, and 20 percent to tribal governments to help sustain programs cut due to loss of royalty income.[4]

In a series of unprecedented decisions favoring the interests of the JTC, the CPUC ordered SCE to place proceeds from the sale of its SO2 allowances into a special account to be used to fund renewable energy investment opportunities for the Hopi and Navajo, and rejected the company's argument that proceeds from these sales should go to ratepayers. The CPUC also requested proposals from the JTC regarding the use of the proceeds and scheduled a mediation seeking a mutual decision between interested parties.[5]

According to Honor the Earth, the coalition's plan is an opportunity to restore some environmental and economic justice to the Navajo and Hopi communities while also helping California meet its renewable energy portfolio through the purchase of clean, tribally-produced energy.[6]

Resources

References

  1. Just Transition Coalition
  2. Grand Canyon Trust
  3. Just Transition Coalition
  4. Christopher McLeod, "Seeking a Just Transition", Earth Island Journal, Summer 2006.
  5. Just Transition Coalition
  6. Honor the Earth press release

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