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New book takes an in-depth look at the complicated legacy of coal on the Navajo Nation

By Mark Brodie
Published: Thursday, June 15, 2023 - 10:51am

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Carbon Sovereignty Andrew Curley
University of Arizona Press, Leslie Epperson
Andrew Curley, author of “Carbon Sovereignty: Coal, Development, and Energy Transition in the Navajo Nation”

Coal has long been a major part of the economy of the Navajo Nation. But that’s largely changed, in no small part because of the closure of the Navajo Generating Station a few years ago.

Andrew Curley examines the impacts of coal’s legacy in a new book called “Carbon Sovereignty: Coal, Development, and Energy Transition in the Navajo Nation.” Curley is an assistant professor in the School of Geography, Development and Environment at the University of Arizona; he’s also a member of the Navajo Nation.

The Show spoke with Curley, and discussed some history — specifically what the thinking was among tribal leaders when the Navajo Nation first got into coal mining and energy.