KAYENTA, Arizona (ABC4) – Navajo Nation President, Jonathan Nez is urging the Arizona Corporation Commission to support the nation’s Just Transition agreement that would provide $100 million to the nation over 10 years due to effects of coal power plant closures.
According to Navajo Nation leaders, the Navajo Generating Station, Four Corners Power Plant, and San Juan Generating Station provided thousands of jobs and acted as a dependable source of revenue for the nation, providing cities like Phoenix and Tucson with inexpensive electricity, but that’s coming to an end.
Leaders say the nation has experienced serious financial loss, ranging from $30-$50 million annually, due to the closure of the NGS power plant, stating in a decade, the Four Corners Power Plant, the Cholla Power Plant and the San Juan Generating Station will also close.
Navajo Nation leaders say they are now working with Arizona Public Service to create a Just Transition agreement that would provide $100 million, if approved.
“I am very thankful to the Arizona Corporation Commission for coming to the Navajo Nation and hearing directly from the Navajo people who are affected by the closure of NGS, Kayenta Mine, and the other power plants that are scheduled to close in the coming years. The testimony that the Commission received comes from the hearts and minds of those who continue to experience the economic, environmental, and other impacts of the previous operations and closures. We ask the ACC to immediately support the agreement that was negotiated in good faith with APS,” says President Nez.
Leaders say the funds would go toward general economic recovery, and an additional $10 million would go toward electrification efforts for the nation and an assurance that APS will provide 600 megawatts of renewable electricity generation from the Nation or nearby communities. Officials are also asking APS to provide all the employees at Cholla and Four Corners with job redeployment offers at least six months prior to closure.
According to President Nez, inflation has also decreased the value of the $100 million that was agreed upon, and called on the commission to approve the agreement as soon as possible.
The Arizona Corporation Commission is scheduled to hold additional town halls at the Hardrock Chapter at 1 p.m. MDT and at the Hopi Junior-Senior High School at 6 p.m. MDT on June 22, 2022.
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