Opinion | Politics

Russell Begaye: Washington must help secure jobs on reservation






Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. Photo: Navajo Nation OPVP

President Russell Begaye of the Navajo Nation calls on Congress and President Donald Trump to prevent the closure of a coal-fired power plant on the reservation that employs tribal citizens and generates revenues for the tribal government:
The Navajo Nation is made up of strong and resilient people. Our community has overcome great challenges to ensure that we are able to live on our homeland and continue our Navajo traditions.

Now, our nation is faced with an impending economic disaster after the owners of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), a power plant on Navajo land, have threatened to shut down the facility by 2019. The Navajo Generating Station is the largest coal power plant in the Western United States, and is a critical economic engine for both our reservation and the state of Arizona.

There are over 3,100 direct and indirect jobs with over $180 million dollars in annual wages that are tied to the NGS and the Kayenta Mine, the sole supplier of coal to the facility. Additionally, a study conducted by Arizona State University found that the NGS provides an economic impact to the region of over $230 million.

The lease agreements, royalties and other payments tied to the plant and mine accounts for approximately 20 percent of Navajo Nation Annual General Fund revenue. This money funds critical public services for our nation including schools, emergency services, infrastructure, and public parks. We already struggle to make ends meet and any reduction in our already strained operating budget would have disastrous consequences.

Read More on the Story:
Russell Begaye: Washington must help the Navajo Nation prevent the loss of coal jobs (The Hill 3/16)

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Navajo Nation youth battle coal-fired power plant on reservation (11/18)