Naabik’íyáti Committee Votes Down NGS, Mine Acquisition Support Legislation 

Legislation 0044-19 sponsor Rickie Nez and representatives of Navajo Transitional Energy Company testify before the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee Thursday. Left to right: Erny Zah, NTEC; Rickie Nez, council delegate; Steve Grey, NTEC; April Quinn, Navajo Dept. of Justice; Seth Damon, Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council.

Published March 23, 2019

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — After nearly 8 hours of deliberation, legislation 0044-19 failed to pass the Navajo Nation Council Naabik’íyáti’ Committee Thursday in a 9-11 vote. The measure would have reiterated the Navajo Nation’s support for Navajo Transitional Energy Company acquiring the Navajo Generating Station and Peabody Kayenta Mine.

In addition, the legislation clarified that the transaction would be independent of the Nation and that the Nation would not provide any financial guarantees or waivers or release of claims against the owners pertaining to NTEC’s acquisition of the properties.

Delegate Rickie Nez (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, T’iis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse’Daa’Kaan, Upper Fruitland) introduced the legislation and Delegate Herman Daniels (Shonto, Naa’tsis’áán, Oljato, Ts’áh Bii Kin) co-sponsored it.

Thursday’s vote follows four town hall meetings and 12 work sessions with Navajo organizations and Navajo Nation executive branch agencies. In order to understand the implications of the potential transaction from all available information sources, the Office of the Speaker coordinated the work sessions and town halls with various stakeholders

After the council’s decision, NTEC issued a release stating they were ceasing their efforts to acquire the power plant and mine.

In response to the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee’s Thursday vote, Speaker Seth Damon (Bááháálí,Chichiltah, Manuelito, Tsé Lichíí’, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh) issued the following statement.

For close to 100 years, the Navajo Nation has been a strong traditional energy producer. In that time, government revenue from energy production has supported the Nation in becoming the strongest and most robust tribal government in the United States, propelling our people in endeavors our forbearers would have never imagined.

Much has changed in the energy markets and the political world, though, that is weakening the viability of Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine to continue their full operations.

Last night, that Navajo Nation Council signaled that it is time for change. In order to develop a healthy and diverse economy that does not overly rely on any particular industry, the 24th Navajo Nation Council will advance new and innovative development initiatives that place our people’s ability to live in our traditional homelands first. Expanding tourism, alternative energy development, carbon credits, and manufacturing are all ideas that this council is pursuing to ensure that a healthy government can continue to provide for its people.

 

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