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Navajo Nation settlement includes payments, scholarship funds

The Navajo Nation reached a settlement with Peabody Energy that includes an immediate $50 million payment to the tribe.

Peabody also promised $15 million toward infrastructure on the reservation for the next 10 years, The Blog of Legal Times reported. The company will make $3.5 million annual bonus payments to the tribe and invest $1.55 million in a Navajo scholarship fund.

“It brings an end to what was a complex piece of litigation that required a lot of resources and attention,” attorney Sam Buffone told BLT of the deal.

During the Reagan administration, the tribe sought to renew its lease with Peabody for a large coal mine on the Arizona portion of the reservation. The new deal called for the tribe to receive a 20 percent royalty rate.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs initially backed the higher rate. But after a lobbyist for Peabody secretly met with then-Interior secretary Donald Hodel, the tribe was forced back to the table and was told that an administrative appeal in Washington, D.C., wasn't coming any time soon.

As a result, the tribe accepted a 12.5 percent royalty rate for its coal. The rate remains intact through the settlement.

Get the Story:
A Dozen Years Later, Navajo Nation and Utilities Settle Suit (The Blog of Legal Times 8/22)

Related Stories:
Navajo Nation announces settlement for Peabody lease dispute (8/5)

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