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KSJD Local Newscast - September 18, 2023

Environmental groups that work to protect the Black Mesa region in northeast Arizona say that Peabody Energy has not done a sufficient job of reclaiming the now-defunct Kayenta coal mine, and shouldn’t be refunded millions of dollars in bond money. Recently, the coal company Peabody Energy applied for the release of $17.3 million, part of a larger bond held by the Office of Surface Mining, or the OSM, for parts of the Kayenta Mine that have undergone some phases of reclamation. The office is under the Department of the Interior, and is tasked with ensuring coal mines adequately restore land damaged during strip mining. The bonds were posted with the OSM by Peabody to be returned only after the mine lands had been reclaimed to certain standards. In late August, the OSM held a public meeting on the bond release at the Navajo chapter house in Forest Lake where some community members also raised concerns about the long-term impact of mining on local water resources.

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Chris Clements is a former news reporter for KSJD. He had previously covered literary arts as a reporter for The Chautauquan Daily in Chautauqua, New York, and graduated with a degree in English from Arizona State University. At KSJD, Chris has collaborated with KUNC (northern Colorado NPR) on water conservation stories, and had his spots regularly featured on NPR's national newscasts.