Cold War Patriots Hosts Town Hall Meetings for Uranium Workers in the Four Corners Region, June 5-6

– New format enables workers to get more customized information about government compensation & healthcare benefits they have earned –

Denver, Colo. (May 23, 2018) – Cold War Patriots (CWP), a community resource organization that is the nation’s strongest and most sustained voice advocating for worker benefits, will host free town hall meetings for nuclear weapons and uranium workers in the Four Corners Region on June 5 and 6 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. With a new format this year, CWP is making it easier for workers to get the specific information they need about the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).

The morning sessions, starting at 10 a.m., will be customized for people who have already applied for RECA or EEOICPA benefits and have either been awarded a U.S. Department of Labor white medical benefits card or have a pending claim. At the morning session, participants will learn:

  • How to file for medical expense reimbursement
  • How impairment ratings can get them more monetary compensation
  • Why they should add conditions to a claim
  • Why in-home care might be right for them

The 2 p.m. afternoon sessions are for workers who haven’t yet applied for their benefits or those who have applied but whose claims have been denied. No new information is available for post 1971 uranium miners at this time. The afternoon session participants will learn:

  • If they qualify for up to $400,000 in monetary compensation and free healthcare
  • How to apply for benefits
  • What benefits are included
  • How to reopen denied claims

“Our goal at CWP is to ensure the workers who helped keep America free by building the nation’s nuclear arsenal and are now suffering illness because of their sacrifice and service are connected with the monetary compensation and health benefits they have earned,” says Tim Lerew, CWP Chairperson. “By segmenting our presentations in this way, we can better help the workers with their individual situations, which can be overwhelming to navigate on their own.”

Lerew says anyone who worked at any nuclear weapons or uranium mining facility is invited to attend a presentation. Resources will be on hand to help workers understand the financial and medical benefits available to them – including home healthcare – and to guide them through the process of proving the connection between their workplace exposure and their illness.

Below are the meeting dates and locations. Refreshments will be offered.

Tuesday, June 5

Courtyard by Marriott Farmington

560 Scott Ave.

Farmington, NM

Wednesday, June 6

Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center

State Route 504

Shiprock, NM

The EEOICPA program is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and offers monetary compensation and healthcare benefits to workers who participated in the nuclear weapons program from 1942 until the present day and became sick because of radiation exposure or other toxic substances. Learn more at https://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/.  The RECA program is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice and offers monetary compensation to persons in certain situations who were exposed to radiation exposure. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca.

About Cold War Patriots (CWP)

Cold War Patriots (CWP) is a division of Professional Case Management (PCM), which provides specialized in-home healthcare services to nuclear weapons and uranium workers. CWP is a community resource and advocacy organization and the nation’s strongest and most sustained voice to advocate for worker benefits. CWP helps former nuclear weapons and uranium workers get the recognition, compensation and care they have earned. CWP, the first national organization to connect workers with benefits, does this work for free on behalf of its members. Visit www.coldwarpatriots.org or call 888-903-8989 for more information.

Media Contact:          

Shannon Porter, Cold War Patriots

media@coldwarpatriots.org | 888-903-8989

Utah Diné Bikéyah cites creation narratives as further justification for protecting Bears Ears Triassic-Era phytosaur fossil resources

SALT LAKE CITY – Mark Maryboy, a board member for Utah Diné Bikéyah, says the recent discovery of phytosaur fossils in Bears Ears National Monument highlights another essential resource that is intimately tied to the Native wisdom, and in this case Navajo Creation narratives.

Kevin Madalena, a cultural resource coordinator for Utah Diné Bikéyah, adds that the Ancient Ones were aware of Triassic-era fossils, dinosaurs and the remains of other creatures like it, as indicated by historic Mammoth petroglyphs recorded at various ancestral Puebloan ruins.

These tribal connections around fossils and nearly every other natural resource at Bears Ears include stories, wisdom, and cultural teachings that we as tribal members have rarely shared with the public or the mainstream media. Utah Diné Bikéyah aims to show the benefits and legacy of Native oral history that showcases the diversity, intelligence and complexity of thought that these lessons hold. Dinosaurs and paleontology has shaped Southwestern Native American views of the world.

Recent media stories explained how the phytosaur and other creatures that lived in the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, are informing our scientific understanding of how “Mother Nature did experiments with life,” and called it one of the world’s richest collections of Triassic-era fossils. According to Rob Gay, the paleontologist with Colorado Canyons Association who discovered the fossil, the phytosaur closely resembles modern crocodiles and is part of the Chinle Formation.

In the Navajo creation stories, the phytosaur was most likely living during the Third World among other “Monsters.” The Third World, or Yellow World, is when the Hero Twins, deities in the Navajo universe, fought these monsters that wreaked havoc on Mother Earth’s many lifeforms. These Navajo “Hero Twins” made the world habitable by defeating most all of the monsters who roamed across DineTah (Navajo Territory), turned them into fossils and buried their blood and organs deep in the earth (some think this is oil, gas, uranium and other minerals that will wreak havoc again if dug up.) The physical evidence of these fossils that dot the landscape, combined with the life lessons of these teachings, shapes who Navajo people are today.

Some evidence of these notorious monsters still exists in Navajo territory, such as the huge bird that lived on Shiprock, a fossil bed in Red Mesa, Ariz., and dinosaur tracks near Tuba City, Ariz., all of which were killed by the Hero Twins and the weapons they secured from their father, the Sun.

“The monsters have been here since the First World,” explained Maryboy, who is also a Navajo cultural practitioner. “But, in the Third World, they became so big!”

Maryboy explained that the Hero Twins and other living beings in Third World had to listen to the universe and relied on astronomy for information to defeat these monsters. Such modern examples among Navajo people today are the use of star-gazers to help heal patients back into a harmonious state with nature, or Hozho.

During this primordial time, as the Hero Twins slayed these monsters, ceremonies, with guidance from Navajo deities, were created to protect and cleanse the spirit of the twins. This is where ceremonies like the Enemy Way emerged, Maryboy said, alluding to the association of how Navajo ceremonies were created to fight monsters, possibly like the phytosaur, before Navajos emerged as a people into the current, Glittering Fourth World, and continue to exercise these ceremonies today.

“A lot of what I am telling you is lost on the public. There are very few of us that know this knowledge,” Maryboy said, adding that the texts “Sharing the Skies: Navajo Astronomy” and “The Book of the Navajo” are sources that verify his claim. Yet, at the same time, every Navajo child is taught lessons derived from these teachings.

According to Madalena, the era in which the Tyrannosaurs lived and when humans emerged is determined by the Creator, or intellectual designer of the universe.

“Right now, it’s our turn to live. We were not meant to live during a T-Rex era,” explained Madalena, who is Jemez Pueblo and a trained paleontologist. “We have proof at the Bears Ears National Monument that ruins have Fremont Age 1 and Basketmaker II construction, with some of the kivas intentionally included Theropod fossils hauled from great distances and inserted as hearths or decorations in prominent locations in the home. Fossils are important to who we are.”

“We know that old Puebloans drew mammoths being hunted. They knew of the larger animals long after they existed. The depictions in petroglyphs come close to what we see in the modern dinosaurs at collections in museums.”

Madalena added the phytosaur discovery is an important piece of data and could help us understand climate change, particularly when the U.S. military has recently asked paleontologists and geologists about how to prepare for climatic threats. Similar threats to what we are experiencing today may have caused mass extinctions during other time periods.

“All that data is irreplaceable,” he said, referring to how the Trump Administration’s recent approval for Energy Fuels, Inc. to begin mining at the Danero’s Mine further disrupts tribal connections to Bears Ears.

Madalena previously worked with Gay as a member of the Bureau of Land Management and collaborated with Adrienne Mayor on “Fossil Legends of the First Americans.”

“As earth historians, we need to look at the data on earth before humans were here,” added Madalena. “That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that we protect Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. You cannot use an algorithm to construct environmental models out of thin air. The extraction of energy resources should always be weighed against the values that may be destroyed in the process, and in the case of Bears Ears Native wisdom should be given a chance to teach us what we know.”

LEGISLATIVE ALERT: H.B. 2003 coal mining; TPT; repeal

On Tuesday, Mar. 6, H.B. 2003 coal mining; TPT; repeal was assigned to the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Rules Committee, respectively. Previously, the bill passed out of the House of Representatives last Thursday, Mar. 1, and was transmitted to the Senate on Monday, Mar. 5. H.B. 2003 is sponsored by Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Dist. 11; Casa Grande, Eloy, Marana, Maricopa, Oro Valley, Tucson. The bill is on the agenda and scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee next Wednesday, Mar. 14 at 9 a.m. MST.

This legislative alert seeks to inform LD-7 constituents of this bill and its potential impacts district-wide. The office of Sen. Peshlakai encourages district and state residents’ input and feedback through the legislature’s ‘Request To Speak’ system. 

Attached is the committee agenda, a House bill summary, and a fiscal note for your review. You may review the full bill and additional details online at www.azleg.gov.

 

Tribes Respond To Trump’s Evisceration Of Bears Ears National Monument

Elected officials from the Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe hosted a press conference to respond to President Trump’s elimination of 85% of Bears Ears National Monument. This action is an attack on Native American people, culture, history, and tribal sovereignty and may result in opening up 2 million acres to mining interests.The Tribes have already filed suit today to challenge the President’s assault on our public lands. Utah Diné Bikéyah along with other organizations is also prepared to back the Tribes. Tribal Commission input was reduced on 94% of the land, while protection was removed from 85% of the land. This is an unprecedented executive action to undermine Bears Ears National Monument.

Speakers included: Jonathan Nez, Vice President, Navajo Nation, Harold Cuthair, Chairman, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Shaun Chapoose, Council Member, Ute Indian Tribe, Davis Filfred, Council Delegate, Navajo Nation, and Ethel B. Branch, Attorney General, Navajo Nation.

Full Facebook livestream can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/protectbearsears/videos/1480156805435408/

Shaun Chapoose, Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee Member stated, “If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they are going to get. They declared war on us today. When it’s all said and done, just remember this didn’t have to happen. You (the Utah Delegation) could have honored our request to protect our heritage.”

Willie Grayeyes, Chairman of Utah Diné Bikéyah said, “Bears Ears National Monument was created to safeguard the history of five Native American Tribes and to protect their ongoing cultural uses of the land. This is a landscape that has been mined, looted and desecrated for 150 years and today, President Trump opened 85% of the land back up to these abuses. The current administration is playing politics with our native heritage, without even having the courage to look us in the eye. We have no other choice but to seek legal remedies against this illegal action, to listen to our people, and to restore hope in a future that is inclusive of Native American rights and interests on the land.”

Ethel Branch, Attorney General of the Navajo Nation stated, “What we saw today is a tremendous affront to tribal sovereignty and it is a tremendous overreach of executive authority. We intend to hold the president accountable for his actions in federal court.”

Photos available for royalty-free media use are available:

Places cut from leaked Bears Ears boundaries: https://goo.gl/L8t5HT

People can support the legal defense of Bears Ears National Monument by donating to:

http://utahdinebikeyah.org/defend-bears-ears/

 

Cold War Patriots Traveling Remembrance Quilt Exhibit on display in Shiprock, July 13 – July 23

DENVER, COLO. (June 29, 2017) – Cold War Patriots (CWP), a community resource and advocacy group that helps nuclear weapons and uranium workers and their families get the recognition, compensation and health care they have earned, honors former uranium workers with its Remembrance Quilt Experience, a traveling tribute to the men and women who worked in the nuclear weapons and uranium industries. The exhibit is being showcased at only a few select locations across the country, and will be available on limited engagement in Shiprock from July 13 to July 23 at the Shiprock Chapter House.

In addition, a private reception for former uranium workers and their families will be held at the Shiprock Chapter House on July 13 at 10 a.m. This reception will feature a special presentation about the exhibit and includes refreshments. Former uranium workers or their family members can call 888-903-8989 to obtain a free ticket.

The centerpiece of the exhibit experience is a spectacular quilt fashioned in the shape of a magnificent American flag that is three times the size of a typical flag. The quilt features over 1,250 fabric squares hand-printed with the name of a former worker, their years of service and the facility where they worked.

An interactive kiosk presenting a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the atomic weapons program in the U.S., profiles of the men and women who made it possible, and the massive industrial process that made up the nuclear weapons program are also included. CWP Chairperson Tim Lerew says the Remembrance Quilt Experience offers a glimpse inside a chapter of U.S. history that is shrouded in mystery.

“The exhibit honors these brave men and women who did their part to keep America free, and it’s not available anywhere else,” says Lerew. “The quilt is a symbol that preserves the legacy of these dedicated individuals who worked in secrecy – and often in harm’s way – to ensure the safety of our nation by building our nuclear arsenal,” says Lerew. “Through this traveling exhibit, we’re able to pay tribute to these men and women who were on the front-lines of this important – yet often unrecognized – chapter in our nation’s history.”

CWP collected the quilt squares throughout 2011, and since then the quilt has been temporarily displayed at select locations across the country, including the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Department of Labor. A CWP volunteer spent 300 hours over the course of a year to sew the squares together with 1,000 hand-tied bows.

To learn more about the history and significance of the Cold War Patriots Remembrance Quilt Experience, visit: www.coldwarpatriots.org/quilt.

About Cold War Patriots (CWP)

Cold War Patriots (CWP) is a community resource and advocacy group and the nation’s strongest and most sustained voice to advocate for worker benefits. CWP helps former nuclear weapons and uranium

workers get the recognition, compensation and care they have earned. CWP, the first national association to connect workers with benefits, does this work for free on behalf of its more than 40,000 members. Visit www.coldwarpatriots.org or call 888-903-8989 for more information.

Statement from Secretary Zinke on Navajo Nation Council vote to extend lease of Navajo Generating Station

WASHINGTON – Statement from U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke after the Navajo Nation Council has ratified a new lease with the Salt River Project to provide for continued operations of the Navajo Generating Station through 2019:

“Since the first weeks of the Trump Administration, one of Interior’s top priorities has been to roll up our sleeves with diverse stakeholders in search of an economic path forward to extend NGS and Kayenta Mine operations after 2019.  Operating NGS and the Kayenta Mine through 2019 is the first step to meet this priority.

“This Navajo Nation Council’s endorsement of a new lease gives NGS and Kayenta Mine workers a fighting chance and gives Navajo and Hopi economies a moment to regroup for the work ahead. Now, NGS operations can continue while stakeholders examine opportunities for a new operating partner to extend the life of the plant beyond its original 50-year lease.

“I salute Council Speaker Lorenzo Bates and Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye for their leadership and their partnership. Interior is a proud defender of the Nation’s sovereignty – as well as the sovereignty of the Hopi Tribe – as we work together to chart the future of this important facility.”

BACKGROUND:

The Navajo Generating Station is a three-unit, 2,250-megawatt, coal-fired power plant located on tribal trust lands leased from the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona. Coal for NGS comes from the Kayenta Mine located on tribal trust lands leased from the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.

Current NGS co-owners have expressed their intention to not operate the facility after December 2019; as a result, stakeholders associated with NGS have been jointly discussing the facility’s future in talks facilitated by Interior.

Without the new lease ratified by the Navajo Nation this week, preparations to start the decommissioning of the plant would be required as early as next month. The new lease allows the operating owner of the facility – the Salt River Project – to defer any decommissioning activities until after the original 50-year lease period concludes, in December of 2019. This allows NGS and Kayenta Mine operations to continue in the near-term without interruption, and allows more time to find new ownership for NGS.

Secretary Zinke Takes Immediate Action to Advance American Energy Independence

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed two secretarial orders to advance American energy independence. The Secretary’s orders foster responsible development of coal, oil, gas, and renewable energy on federal and Tribal lands and initiate review of agency actions directed by President Trump’s executive order entitled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” Secretary Zinke also signed a charter establishing a Royalty Policy Committee to ensure the public receives the full value of natural resources produced from federal lands. In signing the historic actions on energy independence, Secretary Zinke was joined by Members of Congress from western states and other stakeholders.

“Today I took action to sign a series of directives that put America on track to achieve the President’s vision for energy independence and bringing jobs back to communities across the country” said Secretary Zinke. “American energy powers our national and local economies. But for too many local communities, energy on public lands has been more of a missed opportunity and has failed to include local consultation and partnership. Today’s orders allow for Americans to benefit from safe and environmentally responsible development on federal lands and put America on track for energy independence.”

Secretarial Order 3348 overturns the 2016 moratorium on all new coal leases on federal land and ends the programmatic environmental impacts statement that was set to be completed no sooner than 2019. Based upon the Department’s review of Secretarial Order 3338, the order notes that, “the public interest is not served by halting the federal coal program for an extended time, nor is a PEIS required to consider potential improvements to the program.” The order notes that the federal coal leasing program supplies approximately 40 percent of the coal produced in the United States and is critically important to the U.S. economy.

Secretarial Order 3349 implements review of agency actions directed by the President’s Executive Order signed yesterday on energy independence. It also directs a reexamination of the mitigation and climate change policies and guidance across the Department of the Interior in order to better balance conservation strategies and policies with the equally legitimate need of creating jobs for hardworking American families. In particular, the order sets a timetable for review of agency actions that may hamper responsible energy development and reconsideration of regulations related to U.S. oil and natural gas development.

In an effort to ensure the public continues to receive the full value of natural resources produced on federal lands, Secretary Zinke also signed a charter establishing a Royalty Policy Committee to provide regular advice to the Secretary on the fair market value of and collection of revenues from Federal and Indian mineral and energy leases, include renewable energy sources. The Committee may also advise on the potential impacts of proposed policies and regulations related to revenue collection from such development, including whether a need exists for regulatory reform. The group will consist of up to 28 local, Tribal, state, and other stakeholders and will serve in an advisory role.

Secretary Zinke added that, “It’s important that taxpayers get the full value of traditional and renewable energy produced on public lands and that we ensure companies conduct environmental reviews under NEPA and have reclamation plans.”

Secretary Zinke issued the following statement regarding the President’s executive order on energy independence:

“American energy production benefits the economy, the environment, and national security. First, it’s better for the environment that the U.S. produces energy. Thanks to advancements in drilling and mining technology, we can responsibly develop our energy resources and return the land to equal or better quality than it was before. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Middle East, and I can tell you with 100 percent certainty it is better to develop our energy here under reasonable regulations and export it to our allies, rather than have it produced overseas under little or no regulations. Second, energy production is an absolute boon to the economy, supporting more than 6.4 million jobs and supplying affordable power for manufacturing, home heating, and transportation needs. In many communities coal jobs are the only jobs. Former Chairman Old Coyote of the Crow Tribe in my home state of Montana said it best, ‘there are no jobs like coal jobs.’ I hope to return those jobs to the Crow people. And lastly, achieving American energy independence will strengthen our national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil and allowing us to assist our allies with their energy needs. As a military commander, I saw how the power of the American economy and American energy defeated our adversaries around the world. We can do it again to keep Americans safe.”

NGS Emergency Response Team Members Train to Stay Vigilant

NGS Emergency Medical Technicians and members of the NGS Emergency Response Team train by loading a patient into a Classic Air Flight medical helicopter. EMTs and the ERT train continually to be prepared to handle any emergency. From left to right is O&M Specialist 3 and EMT Skyler June, NGS Chemist Sheena Alvarado, O&M Specialist 3 and EMT Luke Webb and Agua Fria Operations Specialist/Hydro and EMT Christine Bigman. Erwin Roan photo

Germaine Beard was a sixth-grader when she saved her grandfather’s life.

“My grandfather started choking,” she said. “What do I do? It was just us at home.”

She remembers he silently stood up and grabbed her hands, placed them under his sternum and motioned for her to push up. 

After a couple of tries, she said, the food he was choking on dislodged. He sat down to rest. He was aware of what had just taken place – but the little girl was not.

“I was still shaking but I couldn’t cry,” she said. “That always comes back to me.”

Today, Beard is trained to save lives and knows exactly what occurred with her grandfather. She had performed the Heimlich maneuver for the first time.

As a Navajo Generating Station O&M 3 in the Operations Department, she is one of the power plant’s 35 certified Emergency Medical Technicians. She is part of the NGS 130-member Emergency Response Team, or ERT. 

Beard is also a Navajo mother who was raised by her grandparents near Shadow Mountain between Cameron and Tuba City. 

She grew up with traditional teachings that continue to instruct her to always help people. Those teachings, she said, drove her to become an EMT.

“My grandpa always said, ‘Be compassionate. Be forgiving, and help others that are in need,’” she said. “‘Help them to the best of your ability.’ Since then, I’ve always thought I’d like to help people because that’s what he taught me.”

Each day of the year, Beard and her colleagues on the ERT are prepared to do just that. Tucked in the NGS Service Building only minutes from any place on the plant site is the NGS Fire Shop, a second workplace home to NGS first responders. 

Inside the Fire Shop is a red 1999 International 4900 fire engine with its 750-gallon capacity and 3,500 feet of hose, an ambulance, a fire-retardant foam trailer and an emergency response trailer to carry all gear and personal protective equipment for confined space rescue, high-angle rescue and hazardous material scenarios that could occur within the power plant’s various high-pressure, super-heated and accelerated-speed environments. 

“We train every quarter,” said Heath Beard, O&M supervisor over NGS Fire Protection and Germaine Beard’s brother. “We have to train. There are five shifts we have to cover. It usually takes us one week each quarter just to do a refresher.”

In mid-December, Scottsdale Fire Department Captain and paramedic Bill Crowther and Battalion Chief Clint Steves were at NGS to provide training in advancing hose lines up to elevations where there may not be a water supply.

“We use the truck to establish a water supply down here on the ground from their standpipe systems, and via the truck they get water about 80 to 90 feet up,” Crowther said. “They have a big ERT here. They’re trained in a lot of different disciplines. Fire is just one of them.”

Heath Beard’s job is to manage all of the fire protection systems at NGS and the emergency response operation and response teams. All emergency calls are received at the Unit 1 Control Room by radio or phone and are dispatched from there. Beard or his staff assign crews to respond.

NGS is protected by 67 water-based sprinkler systems that the Fire Department maintains. These protect all of the plant’s coal belts, transformers, the power block and buildings. 

In strategic locations throughout the power plant are fire hose cabinets, seven fire pumps, 35,000 feet of fire hose and 120 fire hydrants. All of that needs to be tested, inspected and maintained throughout the year, he said.

In addition to the potential for fire hazards and work-related injuries or accidents that require emergency medical attention, the EMTs and ERT must prepare for more specialized problems, Beard said.

“We have to cover some hazardous materials response and some technical rescue, confined-space rescue and the firefighting aspect every quarter,” he said. “We have to make sure that entire group of people gets the same consistent training.”

All EMTs and ERT members must train for at least 12 hours each quarter. In September, however, ERT members from each work shift trained for 24 hours straight. 

“We take whatever scenario we can dream up out here,” Beard said. “We have electricians who have to go up in the stack. They have to perform maintenance up there, changing out the lights. They’re always worried that if something happens to them, how are they going to get out of there? We simulate that training.”

NGS ERT members Germaine Beard, Raelene Beatty and Chris Mallahan participate in an ERT training to advance hose lines to an elevated level on Dec. 16. George Harden photo

To do that, ERT members must suit up in harnesses, helmets, don all their rope rescue equipment, and ascend the 775-foot stacks to simulate a high-elevation, confined-space rescue, he said.

Many NGS employees live in areas that can be up to 90 miles away from any health care or emergency response, said NGS Operations Manager Ed Irvin.

“Having our people trained reaches out past the fence line of NGS,” he said. “We are touching the lives of many surrounding communities where our people live.”

Raelene Beatty works in the Fire Department as a fire technician and EMT. She’s been at NGS for 14 years and began in the Operations Department.

She said she became an EMT because of living life in a remote and rural part of the state where long-distance travel is a way of life. That increases the chance of coming upon a highway accident when other help may be far away. 

Her job and training makes her feel she’s making a real difference for herself, her family and others within her own community, she said. 

“Here at NGS we have a lot of opportunities, just like the EMT program,” Beatty said. “We can go to school if we want, take college classes and it’ll be paid for. It’s a good job. I’ve taken care of my family all these years.” 

Salt River Project, which manages NGS, recognizes the value of an educated and skilled work force. It supports employee academic and professional growth through a college reimbursement program called the Tuition Assistance Program. It is designed to provide financial assistance with the cost of enrollment in college and university classes.

Erwin Roan is an NGS Fire Specialist who moved from the NGS Safety Department to the Fire Department. He became an EMT seven years ago because he thought it would be an important part of his job when other employees had questions about the training.

“It’s all a secondary skill for us,” he said. “We’re not employed by SRP to be EMTs or Emergency Response Team members. It’s just a secondary skill that we’re able to pick up. That’s one of the things about SRP where they give you these educational opportunities where you can better yourself, where you’re helping people, not just with your employees but out in the community.”

NGS has a mutual aid agreement with the city of Page and the National Park Service to offer assistance when either of their fire departments are dealing with an emergency and could use extra hands, he said.

“In the event that something happens, we’re here, we’re available for them,” Roan said. “With the training that we get, I feel that we’re available and we’re ready for whatever call we get out there.”

The NGS ERT has 130 members trained in structural fire fighting, hazardous materials response and technical rescue.  Some are incident commanders. Others operate as support to prepare responders for the emergency and others conduct the rescue operations.

With safety training regular NGS employees receive continually, he said, mechanical, engineering and electrical accidents are kept consistently low. 

“SRP puts a lot of money into those people to get them trained to make sure that they work safely,” Roan said. “That minimizes the amount of calls we get out here for emergency response or EMT calls. 

Chris Mallahan is an O&M 3 Operator who was with the ERT that responded to a transformer fire near the power block earlier this year. He said he heard the call on his radio, went to the Fire Shop, put on his personal protective turnout and was on the fire engine that responded.

Within five minutes the ERT was at the scene. It was able to quickly contain the flames, de-energize the equipment and spray down the area with fire-retardant foam. Having both EMTs and an Emergency Response Team stationed at NGS is not just a good idea, Mallahan said.

“I think it’s critical,” he said. “There are times when you need someone who is experienced with the machines and all of the equipment out here. And you need them right away in order to prevent incidences from growing.”

The training ERT members receive builds upon NGS’s first priority of safety and further implements the culture of its SAFE program:

Safety trumps production. 

Accept accountability for working safely. 

Family and loved ones deserve to have us home injury-free. 

Everyone is responsible for the safety of those around them. 

“It’s a mindset and a preventative measure, knowing what to look out for, to think ahead,” Mallahan said.

“The training has paid off and it has made a difference for me,” he said. “I am grateful to be involved in it.”

Secretary Jewell to Kick Off Nationwide Tour Highlighting Nation’s Progress on Conservation, Energy and Tribal Issues

First Stop on Tour Highlights Administration Efforts to Strengthen Tribal Nations, Invest in Native Youth Successes

ACOMA PUEBLO, N.M. – On Thursday, December 8, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will begin a nationwide tour to highlight the progress the nation has made over the last eight years on public lands, waters and wildlife management and restoring nation-to-nation relationships with Native Americans.

As part of President Obama’s commitment to strengthening Indian Country, Secretary Jewell will visit the Acoma Pueblo, west of Albuquerque, on Thursday to highlight Administration efforts to strengthen tribal nations. She will be joined by the newly-appointed Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Bruce Loudermilk and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) Director Tony Dearman.

Secretary Jewell will meet with tribal leaders and tour the Pueblo where the Obama Administration restored more than 59,000 acres of land into trust for the benefit of the tribe. She will also talk with students, teachers and members of the Acoma Board of Education at the Pueblo’s Sky City School that is transitioning from a BIE-operated school to one that is controlled by the Tribe.

In her capacity as Chair of the White House Council on Native American Affairs, Secretary Jewell leads a comprehensive federal initiative to work more collaboratively and effectively with Tribes to advance their economic and social priorities. The Secretary’s visit follows her participation in the eighth White House Tribal National Conference in Washington, DC this past fall.

WHO:               Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

                        Governor Kurt Riley, Acoma Pueblo & Pueblo Leadership

                        Bruce Loudermilk, Bureau of Indian Affairs Director

                        Tony Dearman, Bureau of Indian Education Director

WHAT:                 Visit to Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico

WHEN:                 Thursday, December 8, 2016

                        9:20 a.m. MDT – Media check-in

                        9:35 a.m. MDT – School tour

                        10:20 a.m. MDT – School assembly

                        11:00 a.m. MDT – Press conference in school library

                        12:00 p.m. MDT – Tour of Acoma Cultural Center & Old Village (photos only)

WHERE:              Credentialed members of the media should plan to meet at:

                        Sky City Community School – Front Office

                        44 Pinsbaari Drive

                        Acoma Pueblo, NM  87034

MEDIA:                Credentialed members of the media are encouraged to RSVP here.