- By Native News Online Staff
NAVAJO MINE, N.M. — Last Friday, 375 tons of coal were loaded in 23 trucks bound for dozens of Navajo communities. Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) and North American Bisti Fuels combined efforts to ensure Navajo families stay warm this winter.
The closure of Kayenta Mine in northern Arizona last November created a large void to Navajo families that depended on the mine for warming their homes. 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. The chapters determine 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 Friday, 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. Speaker Damon arranged for the provision of bulk transportation deliver coal to Navajo chapters through the Navajo Nation’s new Navajo Chapter Coal Project.
Speaker 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," Damon said, "We also appreciate the other partners, including NECA, Bisti Fuels and North American Coal Company.”
“NTEC is pleased to support the expanded delivery of free thermal coal to the Navajo people today, and throughout the winter season,” NTEC CEO Clark Moseley said. “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.
Chapters that want to participate can contact Cortasha Upshaw at (505) 278-8625 or [email protected] or Andy Hawkins at (505) 598-2892 or at [email protected]
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