justice “outside” Navajo lands (i.e. in an area with mixes of different jurisdictions of land tenure).Uranium and other mining waste and pollution from prior extractive industry projects in the Navajo Nation left a legacy of suffering and death. For example, areas in the western part of the Navajo Nation cause radiation sickness from tailings and the ground water is contaminated and poisoned from uranium mining. Coal mining to feed large power plants brought mixed blessingsin terms of some economic benefit, but strains on water resources and dependence on a dirty power source.The Navajo Nation has a lot of poverty and the public corruption that most often accompanies poverty, where rules are relaxed and unfortunate deals are accepted by a ruling elite for its own benefit, but not that of the poor underclass. Corruption spills over to other areas, including leasingfor recreational areas for non-residents, wind energy projects, gambling and other kinds of economic ventures; some of which are bizarre in conception.In December of 2006, Elouise Brown, along with friends and family members, set up a road block on their land near the proposed site of the Desert Rock Power Plant at a place known as ChacoRio on the Navajo Indian Reservation. The venture was a proposed large mine-mouth, coal-fired power plant to be built not far from another large plant, the Four Corners Power Plant, and yetanother plant, the San Juan Power Plant, and close to the power source, a large coal mine owned by an Australian mining company. Brown set up a small protest camp and when a drilling truck passed by her site she stepped in front of it. The non-Indian driver got scared, ran to complain tohis supervisor and on December 29, 2006 the Sithe Global Power Company of New York Cityfiled an injunction action against Elouise, her organization (Dooda Desert Rock Committee) theDine` C.A.R.E. environmental rights organization and other individuals. It sought injunctiverelief against the organizations from interfering with exploratory drilling operations.
Sithe Global Power, LLC, Dine` Power Authority & Desert Rock Energy Company, LLC v. Dine` C.A.R.E., Dooda Desert Rock Committee, Elouise Brown, Lori Goodman, Sarah White, Alice Gilmore, Lucy A. Willie, Tito Gutierrez & Others
, No. SR-CV-427-06 (Shiprock District Court of the Navajo Nation).A trial on the injunction was set for January 3, 2007 and it was indefensible, even on free speechgrounds, because it was for a court order against future interference under criminal statutestandards. It was politically-defensible, however, and on New Year’s Day of 2007 the groups’lawyer negotiated a consent decree to conclude the case. In it, the defendants agreed they wouldnot violate certain Navajo Nation criminal statutes that carried no fine or jail time (under criminallaw reforms that decriminalized 65 offenses). Consent Decree,
., January 3, 2007. That wasachieved when Dooda’s attorney asked the opposing counsel whether he had heard of whathappened to the Bechtel Corporation in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He had. Indians and supportersrose up and threatened to overthrow the Government of Bolivia over Bechtel’s handling of privatized water and sharp increases in water rates. When the Government of Bolivia responded by terminating contracts of the consortium that was largely owned by Bechtel, it filed aninternational trade complaint against Bolivia. It was not concluded by an international tribunal because of the public uproar over Bechtel’s excessive actions.The defendants’ attorney said that when he would arrive at court for the trial he would be3