Published December 4, 2017
WINDOW ROCK – After months of negotiations, the Navajo Nation alongside all stakeholders signed the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) Extension Lease on Nov. 30, thus extending operations of the plant for another two years until the end of 2019.
“The NGS Extension Lease affords the Navajo Nation, NGS and Peabody employees, and impacted communities time to transition into other employment opportunities and energy markets if need be,” President Russell Begaye said.
Vice President Jonathan Nez congratulated the negotiating team on their work for the two-year extension.
“I’m sure the workers and their families appreciate the work that’s being done to give them some certainty to the end of 2019,” he said.
For now, the extension lease preserves 3,100 direct or indirect jobs for the Navajo Nation.
Bidtah Becker, executive director of the Division of Natural Resources, led the negotiations to extend operations and expressed appreciation for the collaboration and creativity it took to bring the process to an end.
“The signing of the extension lease marks an era of self-determination for the Navajo Nation,” Becker said. “I am extremely proud of the team that worked tirelessly on negotiating and finalizing the lease.”
A Navajo Nation Energy Resource Roadmap is currently in progress. It will provide Navajo with the insight necessary to make better-informed decisions on energy investment choices and transitioning to cleaner energy.
The roadmap will include information about energy research, emerging technologies as well as developing technologies that are currently being sold in the open commercial markets today.
The extension lease will cease coal combustion at NGS by Dec. 22, 2019. The facility would then be completely retired by Dec. 22, 2024.
“Rather than continue to depend on the industry, we must continue to diversify our economy because the future of coal needs to be more cost-effective to support furthered operations of the plant,” President Begaye said. “We must prepare for long-term prosperity to build a nation that will last far into the future.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.