LB - Felice Soldwedel Unit20 728x90

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS |
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 25, 2016

5/7/2013 11:31:00 AM
Navajo Council approves Navajo Generating Station lease extension
Some lease amendments could be deal breakers for Salt River Project and other plant owners
Navajo Generating Station as viewed from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Photo/National Park Service
Navajo Generating Station as viewed from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Photo/National Park Service
Katherine Locke

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Navajo Nation council approved a lease extension for the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) through 2044 on April 29 with a number of amendments, but those amendments could stall the lease extension.

Scott Harelson from the Salt River Project (SRP) welcomed the passage.

"We regard that as a very positive step forward," Harelson said. "However, there were a number of new amendments that were approved and added to the legislation. Whether they materially affect the lease extension or not is something that we are trying to determine right now."

Harelson said SRP and the power plant's other owners are currently reviewing the amendments.

"Are they acceptable or are they not? If they're not, if certain amendments are not, we have to communicate that to the Council so they can determine how they would then proceed," he said.

Harelson said a decision can't wait until 2019 when the current lease runs out. Some decisions need to be made now so the plant's owners can focus on other issues.

"There wasn't really a deadline but that being said, the owners and SRP, we've communicated to the Nation that it needs to be done relatively soon because there are a number of different issues surrounding the plant that need certainty relative to the plant's ongoing operations beyond 2019."

Some of these issues include the Environmental Protection Agency's environmental improvements, a National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) process that needs to take place and ownership issues with Los Angeles and Nevada Energy.

"There will be some environmental improvements, clearly, whether it is $600 million dollars or $1.1 billion is uncertain at this point," Hareleson said. "What is certain is that the owners are not going to make that investment unless they know the plant is going to be operating beyond 2019 because you don't want to make that type of investment if you can't get your return. If the plant was to shut down in 2019 that would not be a wise investment."

One amendment states the plant's owners can't object to or hinder in any way any future claim that Navajo Nation might make to Upper Basin Colorado River Water. The current lease and a previous amendment to the lease extension both stated that the Navajo Nation has the right to make a claim to water on the Upper Colorado Basin.

"The owners are agreeable to that, we don't have any objection to that. The Nation can make a claim as it sees fit," Harelson said. "But what we can't commit to, we would have a concern committing to, would be not reserving the ability to in the future to object to a claim that we don't know what kind of claim it's going to be. How much water is it? Is it upper basin? Is it so much that it would affect the lower basin and the lower Colorado River?"

Harelson said SRP has a responsibility to its water shareholders in the Valley to protect water rights and water supplies.

"It is not in our best interest to withdraw ourselves from an argument that we don't know what it will be," Harelson said.

Harelson said he couldn't comment on the other amendments that the owners may object to.

Some of the amendments include:

• a reinstatement of a $1 million signing bonus;

• power plant owners must control fly ash; and

• NGS must give Navajos preference in employment as long as permitted by federal law.

Erny Zah, director of communications for the Navajo Nation, said the Navajo Nation expected a response from the owners on May 6 or 7.

"We are waiting to hear what the next step will be," Zah said. "Sounds like it's going to be another layer of complexities to a complex issue."

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
LB - Felice Soldwedel Unit20 728x90

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved