Native News Network Staff in Native Currents. Discussion »
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA Though not applicable until 2019, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly has announced his support for Navajo Council legislation to approve a lease extension for Navajo Generating Station that would bring the Navajo Nation more than $40 million annually of additional revenue if approved.
$42 million a year in lease payments begins in 2019
Another important aspect of the lease extension is jobs, President Shelly said.
“We are protecting existing jobs on the Navajo Nation,”
said President Shelly.
“We are building a job base well into the future. This is part of our drive for economic self-sufficiency.”
Between the Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine, the sole coal supplier for the Navajo Generating Station, more than 900 people are employed and more than 85 percent are American Indian, but most are Navajo.
Even though, the owners of the Navajo Generating Station have a vested interest in the intentions of the Navajo Nation due to an EPA ruling requiring additional investment of $1.1 billion in emission control improvements.
“A new lease agreement is fully underway. After rounds of negotiations, the lease extension is favorable and gives us room for a growing Navajo Nation. Looking ahead to our future, we will bring $40 million more starting in 2019,”
said President Shelly as he spent the evening with Speaker Johnny Naize.
The proposed legislation 0042-13 was released for public comment late Friday afternoon. The legislation outlined the Navajo Nation would receive approximately $42 million a year in lease payments beginning 2019 through 2044. That annual payment is substantially larger than $608,400 outlined in the original lease approved in 1969. The president encourages public comment.
President Shelly appointed a lease negotiating team shortly after he took office. The eight person negotiating team, led by Navajo Nation Attorney General Harrison Tsosie, finalized terms of the lease recently.
“I appointed a negotiating team that had experts about power plants, Navajo Nation laws, Navajo natural resources and other aspects of Navajo resources. It's important to me that when we are negotiating large terms that politics are kept out of the discussion. We can't risk compromising a deal due to politics,”
President Shelly said.
The original lease also stated that the Navajo Generating Station owners had the option of extended the lease with or without Navajo Nation consent.
“We are thankful that Salt River Project and the other owners extended good business practices and considered the position of the Navajo Nation. The terms of the lease extension continues a good working relationship we have developed over the years,”
President Shelly said.
The legislation can be viewed Here »
posted February 18, 2013 6:50 am est