Environment | Politics

Tribal leaders worried about future of Navajo Nation plant

Leaders of three tribes said they would lose jobs, revenue and water rights if the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona were to close.

Salt River Project operates the coal-fired power plant on the reservation. The facility generates about $140 million in revenue and wages for Navajo Nation and $13 million for the Hopi Tribe.

Both tribes are worried that the Environmental Protection Agency could force SRP to make upgrades to the plant to control pollution and emissions. The cost of the upgrades is estimated at $1 billion, which could put the facility out of commission.

The costs could also be passed onto consumers. If that happens, the Gila River Indian Community said it would be forced to sue to protect its rights under a 2004 water rights settlement.

The EPA did not testify at a hearing called by the House Natural Resources Committee to discuss the issue. The Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe said they haven't been adequately consulted by the agency.

Get the Story:
Arizona coal plant focus of congressional hearing (AP 5/25)

Committee Notice:
Joint Subcommittee Oversight Hearing on "Protecting Long-Term Tribal Energy Jobs and Keeping Arizona Water and Power Costs Affordable: The Current and Future Role of the Navajo Generating Station" (May 24, 2011)

Related Stories:
Witness list for House hearing on Navajo Nation coal plant (5/23)
Column: Hearing looks at jobs and energy in Indian Country (5/20)
House Natural Resources hearing for Navajo power plant (5/16)

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