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Some Navajo Tribal Council Members Hope to Extend Life of Navajo Generating Station

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Alex Proimos
/
Creative Commons

A committee of the Navajo Nation Council is recommending approval of legislation to extend the operation of the Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona, through December 2019. The existing agreement between the Navajo Nation and the power plant’s owners would expire at that time anyway, but the owners have said they want to begin shutting the plant down this July, citing economic reasons. Tuesday’s vote by the Resources and Development Committee was 3 to 2, reflecting a sharp division among the nation’s citizens about the future of the plant, which burns coal from mines on the Navajo and Hopi reservations. Closure would mean the loss of an estimated 800 jobs as well as revenues of some $30 million annually for the Navajos. The bill now moves to another committee before it is heard by the full council.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.