Navajo coal plant negotiations hit roadblock

Navajo and Hopi communities are torn over the impending closure of a coal plant that brings both jobs and pollution/Sierra Club photo

 

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

Negotiations for a Navajo Nation energy company to take over the troubled coal plant near Page have hit a major impasse over who could be responsible for the eventual cost of clean up.

The owners of the Navajo Generating Station, which is on tribal land and fed by a mine on Navajo and Hopi land, are planning to close the power plant this year.

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company, or NTEC, which is owned by the tribe, has been negotiating to take over the plant, which is the largest coal-fired generator in the West.

But a Feb. 25 letter from NTEC to the power plant owners, which include Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service Co., indicates the deal has stalled because the parties cannot agree over the long-term liability for the plant.

The parties met Wednesday and an SRP spokesman said Thursday the deal stalled.

“The discussion we had with them yesterday did end at an impasse,” SRP spokesman Scott Harelson said Thursday. “We don’t see a path forward.”

But Navajo Nation Councilman Nathaniel Brown said the tribe’s elected officials hope to continue moving the discussion forward

“The Nation would still like to continue the conversation,” Brown said Thursday.

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