Navajo Nation Delegate Wants Action on Climate Change

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Delegate Mark Freeland, who represents Crownpoint area chapters, wants to start a climate change plan for the Navajo Nation.

Published August 4, 2019

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The “Climate Adaptation Plan for the Navajo Nation,” prepared by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been sitting on the shelf for months.

Delegate Mark Freeland wants to get it officially adopted, developed and implemented immediately and is sponsoring bill No. 0239-19 to that effect.

“This is important because we need to look at what’s going on in our Nation,” said Freeland to the Times. “We hear about what’s going on in the world concerning climate change, but we need to know what’s going on in the Navajo Nation itself. How is climate change affecting the Navajo Nation?”

Freeland said he first wanted to do a climate change study and plan not realizing that Fish and Wildlife had already developed a plan.

On March 20 to 22 and 27 to 29, 2018, Fish and Wildlife held a climate change planning workshop. Department officials listened to grazing officials and land board and farm board members to gain community-level insight on the management of natural resources and compared those with information from Navajo Nation natural resource professionals.

The plan provides outlines of Navajo Nation priority lists; key vulnerabilities; goals and adaptation strategies; assessing risks; and plans for water, feral horses, communication, enforcement and compliance, pollution, air quality, illegal dumping and grazing management.

“This document was just sitting there,” said Freeland. “No one was interested in it. So the plan is to put this plan into action. They did a good job. It’s so awesome.”

Bill No. 0239-19 will be posted for a five-day comment period before going before a standing committee.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

 

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