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HOPI TRIBE PRAISES DECISION BY INTERIOR

 HOPI TRIBE PRAISES DECISION BY INTERIOR
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Hopi Tribal Chairman Vernon


Masayesva expressed his appreciation for this week's decision by Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan to refuse the Peabody Coal Company's request for a conditional permit for the Black Mesa Mine.
 Lujan said no action would be taken on the permit until pending environmental and economic studies are completed and the secretary has had the opportunity to fully assess impacts and alternatives.
 Masayesva praised Lujan's decision and his commitment to careful environmental and economic review before any permit decisions are made. "Due to the many different interests that the secretary has to serve, including the trust responsibility to Indian tribes, we appreciate how difficult and important this decision was for him to make," Masayesva concluded.
 Considered a modern day western fight over water, the Hopi Tribe has staunchly opposed Peabody Coal Company's use of pristine drinking water underlying the Hopi and Navajo reservations to slurry coal 272 miles to the Mohave Generating Station in Arizona.
 "We are opposed to the use of pristine drinking water for industrial purposes," said Masayesva.
 The Hopi Tribe's concern with Peabody Coal Company's water use derives from a provision in Peabody's leases, executed years ago with the Hopi and Navajo Tribes, that provides for Peabody to use water that may be available on the leasehold if it complies with important environmental requirements.
 The recent Peabody request for a conditional permit follows a 1989 decision by Secretary Lujan to withhold the Peabody permit until the impacts of a coal slurry pipeline associated with the mine could be reviewed. Specifically, the Interior Secretary ordered studies assessing what impacts could occur to Hopi and Navajo drinking water pumped from the underlying N-Aquifer to slurry the coal and whether alternative methods of water or coal transportation are available.
 -0- 1/23/92
 /CONTACT: Loris Minkler of the Hopi Tribe, 202-898-9000, ext. 1218/ CO: The Hopi Tribe; Peabody Coal Company ST: Arizona, District of Columbia IN: SU:


MH-DC -- DC017 -- 2955 01/23/92 15:50 EST
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Date:Jan 23, 1992
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