Salt River Project objects to changes in Navajo Generating Station lease extension

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The Salt River Project, owners and operators of the Navajo Generating Station, have told the Navajo Nation changes the tribe made to the lease extension for the Arizona coal-fired power plant are unacceptable, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Amendments to the lease include requiring an assurance from plants owners they will not hinder or oppose any claim the tribe would make to water from the upper Colorado River Basin and giving hiring preference to tribal members. SRP Associate General Manager Mike Hummel told the AP it is unlikely the two sides will reach a resolution to keep the power plant running beyond 2019.

The utility stated it cannot agree to support the tribe’s claim to water rights, especially when the extension does not state how much water the Navajo Nation would claim, and that conflicting language in the hiring preferences needs to be cleared up.

The lease extension approved by the tribe, which expires in 2044, would also boost yearly payments to the Navajo nation from $3 million to $43 million.

According to the Gallup Independent, Tribal Council Speaker Johnny Naize believes the agreement is workable, and tribal lawmakers will meet in a special session to address the amendment.

Currently, the power plant is owned by the U.S.  Bureau of Reclamation, Salt River Project, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Arizona Public Co., Nevada Energy and Tucson Electric Power. The city of Los Angeles is attempting to stop use of coal-fired power, however, and reports have stated the city is in negotiations to sell its share of the plant to Salt River Project.

This story was originally published by Power Engineering online. It is republished with permission.

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