Last month Mother Jones reported that several Navajo families near Gallup, New Mexico, were forced to move due to contamination from years of uranium mining at the Church Rock Uranium Mine. Sixty miles west of Church Rock, in Navajo County, Arizona, a new energy project promises a clean, profitable use of desert land.
On Monday, lawmakers, industry representatives, and local citizens gathered in Heber, Arizona, to celebrate the Dry Lake Wind Power Project, Arizona’s first commercial-scale wind farm. Before his speech, Interior Secretary Salazar toured the project’s turbine fields, which occupy a combination of private, state, and federal lands in Navajo County. A local utilities company has purchased the energy from the 30 turbines, which cover 6,000 acres of land. This first phase is expected to generate 64 megawatts of wind energy, and 387 megawatts after an additional 70 to 170 turbines are constructed.