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Begaye: “Find a Way to Keep NGS Open Until 2029.”

Begaye: “Find a Way to Keep NGS Open Until 2029.”
April 17
15:00 2017

Last week, the Department of the Interior held a two day meeting with Navajo Generating Station owners, stakeholders, and government officials to, among other things, determine the fate of NGS.

Russell Begaye

Coal prices were also addressed as were suggestions on what could be done to keep the power plant open.

After the meeting, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye released a statement saying that keeping that plant open is priority number one.

“The primary goals of the Navajo Nation are to renew our lease and explore all ways to keep the Navajo Generating Station open until 2029,” Begaye said. “To shut down prematurely will create a devastating impact for Navajo, as over 40% of our entire budget and infrastructure is tied to revenues generating from both NGS as well as the Kayenta mine.

In the event of a closure, Begaye said the tribe will push hard for the development of renewable energy sources.

“Should NGS close, we are asking the Department of Interior to guaranteed access to transmission lines for development purposes. We are exploring options to develop solar, wind and other renewables of which we will need access to the transmission lines on our land in order to export it,” Begaye said in a statement. “Additionally we would like to assume the rights to water and minerals on our land. Currently, we have no rights to minerals beneath our soil. As we seek economic independence, we would like rights to the Uranium, coal and other minerals beneath our soil.

NGS along with the Kayenta coal mine provide over 3,000 direct and indirect jobs across the Navajo Nation. Some $180 million is paid in wages annually to those workers and Begaye called for the federal government and SRP to open their arms to those who may lose their jobs as a result of the closure.

“Lastly, we are imploring both the owners of NGS which include Salt River Project as well as the Federal Government to employ our highly skilled people within their operations,” Begaye said. “Due to the rural area that NGS is located in, it is unlikely for our people to find replacement jobs that match their skill set.”

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