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Posted Mon Aug 15 2011: from Indian Country Today:
Navajo Aquifer Concerns May Prove True
For years, Native opponents of a massive strip mine on Black Mesa in northern Arizona have said longstanding extractive practices of Peabody Energy Corp. (formerly Peabody Western Coal Co.) have depleted a major aquifer on which they depend and a recent analysis seems to bear them out. "The mining-related impacts on the aquifer are more significant than have been recognized or acknowledged," said Dr. Daniel Higgins, who performed the analysis as part of Arid Lands Resource Studies, graduate interdisciplinary programs, University of Arizona, Tucson.... The aquifer Higgins studied for more than five years provides drinking water to Native communities and is a source of water below Black Mesa that feeds sacred springs. Opponents object to the further industrial use of the pristine aquifer water.... But it's not like a bank account, he explained,"because being able to see any change or reversal (in aquifer depletion) is going to take a tremendous amount of time in a large aquifer. The impacts will get worse before they get better--it's not like flipping a switch." A federal geochemical analysis in 1997 determined that 90 percent of the water in the N-Aquifer is 10,000 to 35,000 years old. "Technically, that 90 percent of the water is not replenishable on a human time-scale but only on a geological time-scale," he said.
[Read more stories about: aquifers depletion, water issues, coal issues]

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'Doc Michael says:
"Industrial use" and "sacred springs" mix like coal and water.

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