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

June 27, 2017

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.

 

 

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