LoboVault Home

Dynamo in the Desert: Energy Development and Environmental Contestation in the San Juan Basin, 1960-1985

LoboVault

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12815

Dynamo in the Desert: Energy Development and Environmental Contestation in the San Juan Basin, 1960-1985

Show full item record

Title: Dynamo in the Desert: Energy Development and Environmental Contestation in the San Juan Basin, 1960-1985
Author: Wakefield, S. Andrew
Advisor(s): Scharff, Virginia
Committee Member(s): Truett, Samuel
Ball, Durwood
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of History
Subject: Energy Development
Environment
Environmental Movement
Navajo
Environmentalism
Contestation
San Juan Basin
New Mexico
Coal Mining
Coal Power
LC Subject(s): Energy development--Social aspects--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
Energy development--Environmental aspects--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
Coal mines and mining--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
Power plants--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
Environmentalism--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
Navajo Indians--Economic development--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: This thesis examines coal-energy development in the San Juan Basin, which is located in the culturally rich and environmentally diverse Four Corners region. Between 1960 and 1985 intensive coal-energy development—in the form of strip mines and power plants—took place in the western portion of the San Juan Basin. This period saw the enactment of major environmental legislation and the rise of the modern environmental movement. My thesis specifically focuses on how this development unleashed environmental damage upon the region’s land, water, and air. Beyond examining environmental destruction, my thesis explores how different groups came into conflict over coal-energy development. The groups that most actively contested the development of coal-energy were Navajo tribal leaders, local Navajo communities, Navajo activists, environmental organizations, and energy and mining corporations. I make the argument that each group built a discourse around energy development, environmental legislation, and the natural environment in ways that conformed to each group’s particular interests. The mere specter of energy development unleashed intergroup conflict even when plans for surface mines, coal gasification, and power plant projects did not materialize. Failed energy projects still resulted in social and landscape changes, such as intergroup conflict, factionalizing of Navajo political and social structures, changes in legal control over land, and the designation of wilderness areas within coal regions.
Graduation Date: May 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12815


Files in this item

Files Size Format View Description
OGS_Final_Format.pdf 2.174Mb PDF View/Open Single-file Thesis PDF

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record

UNM Libraries

Search LoboVault


Browse

My Account