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

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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

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dc.contributor.author Wakefield, S. Andrew
dc.date.accessioned 2011-07-01T22:41:11Z
dc.date.available 2011-07-01T22:41:11Z
dc.date.issued 2011-07-01
dc.date.submitted May 2011
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12815
dc.description.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. en_US
dc.subject Energy Development en_US
dc.subject Environment en_US
dc.subject Environmental Movement en_US
dc.subject Navajo en_US
dc.subject Environmentalism en_US
dc.subject Contestation en_US
dc.subject San Juan Basin en_US
dc.subject New Mexico en_US
dc.subject Coal Mining en_US
dc.subject Coal Power en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Energy development--Social aspects--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
dc.subject.lcsh Energy development--Environmental aspects--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
dc.subject.lcsh Coal mines and mining--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
dc.subject.lcsh Power plants--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
dc.subject.lcsh Environmentalism--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
dc.subject.lcsh Navajo Indians--Economic development--San Juan Basin (N.M. and Colo.)
dc.title Dynamo in the Desert: Energy Development and Environmental Contestation in the San Juan Basin, 1960-1985 en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree History en_US
dc.description.level Masters en_US
dc.description.department University of New Mexico. Dept. of History en_US
dc.description.advisor Scharff, Virginia
dc.description.committee-member Truett, Samuel
dc.description.committee-member Ball, Durwood


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