Money can’t bring back water, but it can fund renewable infrastructure, create green jobs, and support tribal communities.

by Ray Levy Uyeda, Prism

There are energy eventualities we know for certain. Coal production has been in decline for decades. Mines have been stripped of their underground deposits, meaning there’s simply less coal to dig out. Natural gas, long deemed coal’s competitor, is cheaper to produce. We know that one potential solution for climate change is wind- and solar-generated electric power that doesn’t require the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. We also know the transition away from fossil fuels is needed to avert further global climate crises—and it’s inevitable, as suppliers and consumers lean toward carbon-neutral solutions.

Advocates also argue that what’s needed is an equitable and Just Transition for communities and workers impacted by and dependent on fossil fuel-based jobs, like coal-power energy production.

houses of the Navajo along the highway in Arizona. The modern life of Native Americans

Community advocates in Arizona and residents of the Navajo Nation have just a few months remaining to convince the state’s energy regulatory body, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), to ensure that a utility rate increase includes funds for a Just Transition. Residents of the Navajo Nation, led by a coalition of Diné and other Indigenous-led organizations, say that Tucson Electric Power (TEP), the company petitioning the ACC for a rate increase, has no plan to provide coal-impacted communities with jobs, supportive services, funding, or environmental accountability despite relying on the community’s labor and land for decades.

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