Navajo Nation to consider extension of lease for NGS

The Navajo Nation and the owners of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) have a tentative agreement for an amendment to the NGS site lease that could allow its owners to operate the plant until 2044.

The current site lease and the grants of rights of way for the plant, railroad, transmission and water lines will begin expiring in 2019.

Details of the proposed agreement will not be made public until they are presented to the Navajo Council for final approval.

If approved by the Navajo Nation, the lease extension cannot be finalized until it is approved by the Secretary of the Interior - a process that could take as long as five years to complete and may be subject to legal action.

Salt River Project (SRP), as operating agent of NGS, worked with a team from the Navajo Nation to develop the agreement. The proposed lease agreement will provide increased revenues to the Nation in lease payments and in-lieu taxes annually through the year 2044.

The NGS owners have also proposed to provide the Navajo Nation with additional funds for local scholarships and for various community projects.

"This proposed lease agreement with the Navajo Nation reflects a sincere desire on behalf of all the parties to develop terms that recognize the economic importance of extending the life of the plant," said Mike Hummel, SRP's power system executive. "NGS provides great value to its customers throughout the Southwest and the owners were very committed to developing a lease agreement that would allow the plant to continue operations while providing the appropriate benefits to the Navajo Nation."

NGS, located just outside Page on Navajo land, was completed in the mid-1970s. The plant supplies power to customers in Arizona, Nevada and California and also supplies most of the energy used to pump water through the Central Arizona Project.

The plant directly employs approximately 520 people, more than 85 percent of whom are Navajo. The nearby Kayenta Mine, the plant's coal supplier, has more than 400 employees, more than 90 percent of whom are also Native American.

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