Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Tue, Sept. 29

Letter: Who is watching the Navajo Nation house?

To the editor:

Recently there has been lots of talk about Navajo Transitional Energy Co.’s (NTEC) new coal mine purchases. The question Navajo leadership has to ask is, who is watching the Navajo house?

The Nation put the Navajo people’s money into NTEC and getting it started. With BHP leaving the coal business on Navajo Nation, the tribe took a step in supporting a coal agreement that would benefit the tribe up until 2031. Early on, coal miners and the tribe knew the deal was solid between the APS plant and NTEC.

All that has changed with the purchase of the new mines in Wyoming and Montana. The NTEC headquarters office is now located out of Denver. The finance office from Navajo mine (Navajo money) has now moved to Wyoming. It’s clear a weak board oversight allowed this to happen.

Is this really what the Navajo Nation wanted and intended when they created NTEC? Who is watching the Navajo house and non-Navajo managers’ decisions?

Our Navajo chapters were informed that all support they will be getting will come from the Wyoming procurement offices, which now administers all of NTEC funds. The hiring of any and all new employees is done out of Wyoming. Potential Navajo employees will never benefit?

Experts say those mines in Wyoming and Montana coming out of bankruptcy will take several years to be profitable. Estimates by watchdogs say that if all goes well, the bankrupt Wyoming/Montana coal mines could start to make a profit in four years.

NTEC has never shown the tribe what the profit of those mines in Wyoming and Montana will be. The question is ‘as those mines come out of bankruptcy, who is covering those costs?’

It’s clear in the NTEC’s case that it will have to be another source. Outside experts say it is Navajo revenue from Navajo mine that will have to carry those Wyoming/Montana mines.

This is what happens when you don’t watch the house and allow a non-Navajo CEO and his managers to determine what is best for Navajo. On behalf of the Navajo people, we ask, ‘What now?’ to Navajo Nation leadership.

Albert John

Shiprock, New Mexico

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