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A Big Crowd at the Community Center

A Big Crowd at the Community Center
May 18
09:49 2017

Somebody did something right on Wednesday night in Page. Unlike a similar event at the end of April, it was standing room only Wednesday at the Page Community Center for a public discussion on the future of the Navajo Generating Station. The event was sponsored by the US Bureau of the Interior.

A Packed Community Center

On Friday, April 28 there were mostly empty seats at Lakeview Elementary School for a public hearing on the NGS situation.

This time every seat was taken and about fifty to sixty people were standing as dozens upon dozens of people walked-up to the microphone and said their piece. The vast majority of those who spoke want the facility to remain in operation.

Among the comments:

“We need to keep it going for the younger generation.”

“Some NGS employees are actually supporting several generations of his family.”

“I’m a Hopi man and I’m very proud to have a 4-bedroom home for my children…..If NGS closes Hopi unemployment will shoot back up.”

“Hopis could lose their sovereignty!”

Many of the people, if not most, were speaking publicly for their first time. But they showed no fear as they said what they needed to say.

Navajo President Russell Begaye opened the event by accidentally welcoming everyone to “Tuba City.” He laughed as he realized his mistake right away. With a lot of laughter in the hall, it was probably a great way to loosen the crowd when they were there for a very serious topic.

A representative of Navajo Nation Speaker LoRenzo bates took the mic early on. He told the gathering the finishing touches were being put on the all important “lease agreement” between the NGS owners and the Navajo Nation, which owns the property where NGS sits. He said that the Nation’s Council would receive the finished product on Thursday for their consideration.
Another person to speak was Jim Parks, the 4th District Coconino County Supervisor. Later, he spoke to Lake Powell Communications and echoed some of the thoughts of the NGS and Kayenta Mine workers.

“There were a lot of young people speaking who work for NGS and Peabody, and one of the most important things is to keep the young people here,” said Parks. “Because if NGS closes, if Peabody closes, all those people who are not retirement age are going to go someplace else off the Navajo and Hopi Nations to find a job.”

If the lease agreement is approved and signed, we can at least be sure NGS will stay in operation until the end of 2019.

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