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Lease Agreement Signed; NGS to Be Torn Down!!

Lease Agreement Signed; NGS to Be Torn Down!!
July 02
12:01 2017

Begaye & Nez Sign Lease…NGS to Be Torn Down After ‘19

Navajo President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez have signed the lease agreement that will keep the Navajo Generating Station running until December 22, 2019.

Then, it will be torn down!

That was the word Saturday from President Begaye who was thrilled that after all their hard work on many fronts and in many places (Window Rock, Phoenix, Washington DC, etc) the lease agreement is signed by both sides (NGS owners and the Navajo Nation) and the thousand or so employees at the electric plant and at the Peabody Coal Mine in Kayenta, can be sure their jobs are secure until the end of 2019.

Ready to be signed

“This is an important day,” said Begaye as the signing ceremony got under way at Twin Arrows Casino east of Flagstaff.

But as he spoke about the future, he said the Navajo Generating Station will cease to exist after 12/22/19, and the building will be razed.

The President said with pride that the Navajo Nation is going to become “The Energy Tribe.”

“They are going to decommission it and haul it off, that’s what’s going to happen,” President Begaye told Lake Powell Communications at the end of the ceremony. “Finding new owners to operate the plant….I don’t think it’s going to happen. We’ve shopped world-wide.”

He said it is the price issue between natural gas and coal that led to this decision.

Begaye said they will build a new facility at the same site and produce natural gas….using coal.

“But a new plant must be put in its place before this can happen,” he added.  “It would be too costly to redesign the current facility. We’ll have a new plant there that will take advantage of the price of natural gas, but still use coal.”

 

A 500 megawatt transmission line on the Navajo Nation will allow the Nation to sell their energy throughout the Southwest, according to the President.

“We are already designing four solar plants that will feed into the power line,” said Begaye.

Future employment opportunities are abstract at this time. But President Begaye spoke to the employees at the plant during the signing ceremony that they have been given two years to work on their next job. It could be right here, where it’s always been. But the future of what Begaye says will be “The Energy Nation” is still hazy and in the future.

More details will be coming out of Window Rock in the days and weeks ahead. But the lease agreement is signed and every one can sigh in relief.

Begaye thanked the NGS owners for helping to put together the lease agreement, and allowing the employees to have two years notice, instead of having to start looking for a new job this month.

In looking back over all the work, sweat and travel that it took to get to this day, Begaye had one more comment.

“Hopefully, no one became single over this.”

PHOTO: Navajo VP Jonathan Nez, Dist-5 Supervisor Lena Fowler, Dist-4 Supervisor Jim Parks & President Begaye at the signing

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