Navajos approve lease extension for power plant near Page

2013-07-19T14:41:00Z Navajos approve lease extension for power plant near PageThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 19, 2013 2:41 pm  • 

WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation Council has approved a lease extension for a northern Arizona coal-fired power plant that sends water to the state’s biggest cities.

The council voted 16-6 in favor of the legislation during its session late Thursday.

Under the measure, the lease for the Navajo Generating Station near Page would expire in 2044. The agreement boosts yearly payments to the Navajo Nation from $3 million to $43 million.

Supporters say extending the lease preserves jobs and revenue to the tribe. It also keeps the coal mine that feeds the plant in operation.

The electricity generated by the plant delivers water to Arizona’s most populated areas through a series of canals and ensures water rights settlements with American Indian tribes are met.

Salt River Project, which operates the plant, said Friday it was thankful the council extended the lease.

“We are currently reviewing the amendments that were included in the final vote, but the initial indication is the amendments are acceptable,” said Mike Hummel, the utility’s chief power system executive.

The legislation was one of the keys to ensuring the plant keeps running beyond 2019, when the existing lease is scheduled to expire. The other challenge has been pressure from federal environmental regulators to curb pollution from the plant.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed that haze-causing nitrogen oxide emissions at the Navajo Generating Station be reduced by 84 percent within 10 years. The EPA says that translates to 28,500 tons a year and improved air quality at places like the Grand Canyon.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. bryother
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    bryother - July 20, 2013 5:01 pm
    Once again Big Utilities & Big Coal with their filthy unhealthy emissions condemns the nation's heath & meaningful well paying, clean air jobs for another 10 years. They like the other coal burning utilities should have started cleaning up 10 years prior.

    They have underpaid the Navajo nation for years & now under pressure come to a more lucrative comprise. Instead of $43 million for the next 10 years they should also make it retroactive for the past 10 years as well.

    Kurt B - Flagstaff
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