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Where’s the Lease Agreement?

Where’s the Lease Agreement?
April 13
10:44 2017

Very little progress was made toward a lease agreement between the Navajo Nation and the owners of the Navajo Generating Station during a 2-day meeting in Washington that ended on Wednesday. That was the word from Commissioner Andy Tobin with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The lease agreement is all important because if it isn’t agreed upon and signed very soon, the coal-powered electric plant will have to shut down this summer, leaving hundreds of people without a job.

Mr. Tobin spoke with Lake Powell Communications by cell phone before leaving DC to return to Phoenix.

“While coming to agreement on a number of issues, they’re not wrapping up the most important one,” said Tobin on Wednesday.

New faces at the meeting this week included Ryan Zinke, President Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, and Governor Ducey’s Chief of Staff, Kirk Adams.

Tobin said he had a chance to speak with Zinke and stressed to him the importance of keeping NGS up and running for the benefit of several economies, including the Navajo Nation and the State of Arizona.

“He’s very caring and concerned about this issue,” added Tobin, speaking of Zinke.

We asked Tobin who is to blame for the dragging of the feet on the lease agreement. He says there are a lot of players in the mix.

“It seemed to the audience, as it seemed to me, this shouldn’t be very hard,” he said. “The problem is that with the existing lease it does not have enough protection regarding decommissioning and other costs. SRP has made a request for amending that (current) lease.”

On the other side of the coin, according to Mr. Tobin, the Navajos began adding requests of SRP for the lease. They both say their ultimate goal is to get this lease done, but in the meantime, as

Tobin reminds us, time is running. He says once an agreement is reached it will still have to be approved by the Navajo Nation Council, too.

So there’s still work to be done, for sure.

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