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Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC)

June 25, 2021

Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC)Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC) works to empower Navajo and Hopi communities in order to advance environmental justice, Indigenous rights, and build healthy sustainable communities. The organization was founded by youth leaders in 2001 and continues to be strongly led by young adults while relying on an inter-generational support network. BMWC first made national headlines in 2005 when they, together with a group of allied organizations, succeeded in shutting down Peabody Coal Company’s Black Mesa Mine and the associated Mojave Generating Station that had been excavating and polluting Native lands for nearly 50 years. Since that time they have continued organizing, building leadership, and engaging in strategic advocacy at both the tribal and state levels in order to put an end to the reliance on fossil fuel development and transition the region to a sustainable, culturally-rooted and community-owned economy. They have approximately 75 community members that are highly engaged in their programs and campaigns and a broader network of over 400 community supporters. Their remarkable string of successes include the passage of tribal legislation for the Navajo Nation Green Economy Fund; the protection of Navajo water rights through the defeat of Arizona SB 2019 – the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Agreement; and most recently they set a precedent with their successful appeal to the California Public Utilities Commission for the creation of a clean energy revolving fund from proceeds resulting from the shutdown of the Mojave Generating Station. This pioneering victory rooted in an understanding of California’s climate law and implementation mechanisms, ensures that the group will have the funds needed to pursue a healthier future for community members. The organization also works to link its local work with advocacy at the national and international levels for effective and equitable solutions to climate change, and is a leader in the national Climate Justice Alliance.