Navajo President Tells Interior Department to Honor Its Trust Responsibility to Tribes

Navajo Nation Russell Begaye addressing U.S. Department of the Interior officials.

Published April 6, 2017

CHANDLER – Today, President Russell Begaye told a Department of Interior (DOI) workgroup that the Federal government needs to honor its trust responsibility to Tribal nations by promoting economic opportunity and revenue to offset the potential closure of Navajo Generating Station (NGS).

“The potential closure of NGS in 2019 will have a devastating impact on the Navajo Nation. The loss of good, high paying jobs will not only affect NGS employees, but also their children, grandparents and extended family members,” President Begaye said. “Our collaboration should explore ways we can replace job loss on the Navajo Nation.”

The DOI convened a regional meeting at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass today. During the Navajo presentation, President Begaye stressed the devastation and impact that would result in a job loss of 3,090 direct and in direct jobs as a result of the shut down of Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Mine.

“The Navajo Nation’s primary concern is the traumatic economic impact that would result from the shut down of the Navajo Generating Station. The relationship between the federal government and the Navajo Nation must be redefined,” President Begaye said. “Our collaborative mission must be to develop a plan to replace thousands of job losses on the Navajo Reservation.”

During his presentation, the president said the workgroup needs to consider all options to promote economic growth on the Navajo Nation.

“We urge DOI to look within its sister agencies for employment opportunities.  We also need to prioritize a system by which NGS employees will be given preference in any potential employment opportunities,” he said.

“President Trump has stressed the importance of promoting and keeping domestic coal production alive in the United States and we are excited that he has declared the ‘War on coal is over’. The Navajo people are self-reliant and hard workers. We support President Trump’s vision on coal production and need President Trump to stand by the Navajo Nation and Americans across the country.  We applaud the president’s commitment to lift the burdens of regulation and allow us to use our natural resources to provide for our people.

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